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Canoe Safaris
The Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

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Zambezi Safari and Travel, Kariba, Zimbabwe



Overview on Canoe Safaris
Mana Pools
The Zambezi River
Planning a canoe safari
Additional notes

Ivan Carter Safaris
Zambezi Classics
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Chipembere Safaris

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Contact Details
The Zambezi Safari & Travel Co.
Suite 3, The Heights Centre
PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 61 2532
Fax: +263 61 2291

Speak to:
Trish or Nikki
Craig, John or Chris

canoeing safaris on the zambezi river

Additional Notes

  • The most common trip is the "full participation" canoe safari as opposed to the luxury or semi-luxury combinations. Clients are expected to help with camp setup and chores. As 90% of the trips are "mixed" groups consisting of singles and couples, camaraderie develops quickly.

  • The best trips are a coin-spin between the backed up trips between Ruckomechi on the upstream boundary and Chikwenya on the downstream boundary of Mana Pools, the Chirundu to Kanyemba "participation safari", and the "Great Zambezi Trail".

  • Trips designed to combine a canoe safari and a walking safari are the best of both worlds.

  • The river guides are required to pass stringent proficiency tests and gain extensive experience (the better operations insist on over 1000 hours) before qualifying to run trips. There is a relatively small pool of really competent guides and they are mostly employed by the more reputable outfits. An even smaller pool of Professional Guides and Professional Hunters with river guide licences exists. These guides will conduct short walks if you're lucky enough to have arranged them - they're the best. (During the dry season from July to October - we run one trip a week: speak to us about it.)

  • The river routine is usually an early start after sunrise to cover ground before the wind picks up by mid morning. This is followed by a full (English type) breakfast on suitable stopover sites. More paddling is followed by a cold lunch and siesta. Night stops are usually reached about an hour or so before sunset - mostly spectacular.

  • Camp setups are done to a formula (kitchen set up with all equipment and utensils laid out strictly, shower unit up, tents and mosquito nets laid out) - with "precision" in about 20 minutes.

  • Sleeping arrangements are under a mosquito net supported by paddles, single or double bed. Dome tents for two are available but should be specified when making reservations.

  • The river flows at approximately 4 km/hour. Previous canoeing experience isn't necessary. The canoes are the Canadian standard. The entire canoeing safari isn't strenuous (unfit torsos will feel aches at night but ten minutes of paddling the next morning clears the system of lactic acid build up). The route is restricted to shallow waters out of the way of hippo. Swimming is done on large and very shallow sand banks out of the way of crocodiles and other game (water fights are regular).

  • Siestas at lunch time are welcomed - river guides see it as a job perk and the habit is unlikely to be broken. Reading material or fishing tackle is a good idea for more active participants. Fishing on the river is excellent, the river Tiger put up a better fight than on those on Lake Kariba. The day's catch, if any is prepared at night.

  • Meals are more than adequate and there are plenty of leftovers for the fish. Breakfast consists of cereal, tinned fruit, bacon, eggs, sausages etc. Lunches are usually made up of cold meats and salads. Suppers vary: spaghetti bolognaise, beef stew, roast chicken etc. with vegetables. Vegetarian and other dietary preferences are catered for. Complimentary wine is usually served with dinners.

  • Other alcoholic and softdrink preferences need to be arranged in advance. There is no shortage of cordials and fresh drinking water in the canoes. The river water is considered safe to drink but the risk of a tummy bug jeopardising a trip isn't worth it so use what is supplied or take your own.

  • "Doug" and "Lucy" are standard ablution tools. Doug is a small spade, Lucy is a fold up toilet seat. Shrubs, reeds and trees afford plenty of privacy - some of the views into the mountains and across the river during moments of deep contemplation are spectacular. All tissue and toilet paper is burnt. The campsites are hygienic and show no sign of over use. Avoid undertaking your own "private safari" in order to maximise privacy.

  • Some basic canoeing rules include never starting a water fight downwind and beware the "teapot sea anchor" after having formed a social raft.

  • All of the canoe safaris which we offer start and end in Kariba - this also applies to the trips running on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river. Unless your connections to flights or other activities in the area are planned properly you will need to consider overnighting in Kariba at hotels, campsites or lodges. These requirements can be arranged with ease.

Africa Under Canvas with Ivan Carter Safaris



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� Copyright, 1997/1998/1999/2000. The Zambezi Safari & Travel Co. All rights reserved.
Suite 3, The Heights Centre, PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe.
Last updated on 19 January 2000