Lake Kariba is largest man-made lake in the world by volume. At capacity, the lake is 282 km long, 32 km across its widest point and 116m deep. It covers an area of 5,580km 2 and its storage capacity is 185km 3 . The dam and 6 flood gates were built between 1955 and 1959, with later work adding turbine rooms to generate electricity.
Building the dam resulted in flooding and the resultant reservoir forced the resettlement of about 57,000 Tonga people living along the Zambezi in Zimbabwe and Zambia (formerly known as Southern and Northern Rhodesia respectively). In an unprecedented effort, called Operation Noah, 6000 animals were rescued in an operation that lasted from 1958 to 1964 and most were taken to Matusadona National Park. Unfortunately, 86 men perished during construction of the dam and a memorial has since been constructed at Kariba Heights.
The park is based around the lake measuring 2872km 2 and is host to various bird species and animals whose numbers fluctuate according to the water levels. There are over 40 fish species including tigerfish, bream, barbell and chesa among others. The lakes well known islands include Fothergill, Spurwing, Msambakaruma, Rhino, Forty mile, Long Island, Redcliff, Antelope, Zebra and Chete Island.