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Canoe safaris in southern Africa

Africa’s wilder rivers and watercourses take you through stunningly remote, uninhabited areas with plenty of big game offering the continent’s wildest fly-camping and canoe safari experiences. You will indulge in the best of wild Africa from a unique vantage point.

As our canoe safari  transports us through beautifully remote areas,  we make camp beneath the stars. We carry only essential provisions for your safety and comfort, with our itinerary recommended by weather, river conditions and game sightings. As we journey further away from the canoe launch point,  there’s little to no road access to long stretches of the river.  Solid planning and experienced professional canoe safari guides are essential prerequisites. We run a series of set-date canoe safari options in southern Africa on the upper and lower Zambezi, as well as the Selinda Spillway in northern Botswana. They are perfect for the tame, the adventurous, and the fearless.

What to expect on a canoe safari

You’ll regularly encounter big game in the form of elephants, hippos and crocodiles in the water. A canoe on the water won’t disturb the buffalo, kudu and eland, and predators including lions and other large mammals can be seen along the river banks and shorelines. You’ll find a fantastic array of resident animals and birdlife through the season. The October to March period that has the most migrant animals travelling through the area.

Our canoe trips are often self-supporting with wild-camping on isolated islands, or we spend nights in fully supported mobile fly-camps. We can also make use of comfortable permanent lodges to start or end a canoe safari adventure.

Canoe safaris are generally very active but prior canoeing experience isn’t essential, and a reasonable degree of fitness will certainly help. We set out on the water just after sunrise, break for brunch and siesta in the early afternoon heat, then paddle through the afternoon to catch sundowners in camp before the sun sets. Our ‘bush TV’ comes by way of a primal camp fire.

Our canoe safari season

Our canoe safari season

Tamer options on the Upper Zambezi above Victoria Falls are available year-round. However the remotest stretches of the lower Zambezi into Mana Pools or Botswana’s Selinda are best accessed during the drier months from May through to mid-November.

As game conditions on the water are always refreshing themselves at the beginning of the season we recommend having newcomers on the lower Zambezi canoe safari trips later in the season.

Get ready for the canoe safari adventure of a lifetime! 

(Photo credits: Dana Allen and Colin Bell for Wilderness Safaris; David Foot)

Gus Alexander leading one of the lower Zambezi canoe safaris for Natureways - courtesy James Varden

Lower Zambezi Canoe Safaris

We've run canoe safaris since 1995. From Kariba, past Mana Pools, Sapi, Chewore and Mupata Gorge to Kanyemba. 230km of untamed adventure!

From $1469 9 days / 8 nightsMore info
Tamarind Canoe Safari Mana Pools by Noel Smith

Tamarind Canoe Safari

The Tamarind canoe safari is one of our most popular lower Zambezi canoe safaris over 4 days from Chirundu down to Mana Pools World Heritage Site.

From $763 4 days / 3 nightsMore info
Canoeing on the Selinda by Garth Thompson courtesy Hilton Walker

Selinda Adventure Trail

Lush and green... the sheer excitement of the arrival of life-giving water is infectious! A rare and extraordinary Canoe trail adventure

From $3500 5 days / 4 nightsMore info
Elephant encounter on the Mana shoreline courtesy James Varden

Spirit of the Zambezi Safari

Best of the Zambezi. Canoeing, walking, top guides, outstanding wildlife in Mana Pools, Matusadona, Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Park.

From $3690 11 days / 10 nightsMore info
Elephant encounter on foot in Mana Pools courtesy Stretch Ferreira

Zimbabwe Mana Pools Explorer

A 7-night exploration of Mana Pools - a canoeing and walking safari with top professional guides, outstanding wildlife and authentic camps.

From $2289 8 days / 7 nightsMore info