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Canoe Safari Options - lower Zambezi



Take a look at the types of canoe safaris on the lower Zambezi:
  • Full participation
  • Backed up canoe safaris and trails
  • Tailor made trips for specialists

Then consider the combination walking and canoeing safaris...


Full participation canoe safaris

Full participation canoe safaris are "camping-type" trips on which all gear and provisions are carried in the canoes and overnight stops are made at specific camp spots on islands or on the mainland. 
  • Canoeists sleep in two-man bow tents or under mosquito nets draped over a paddle. 
  • All meals are prepared by the guide and canoeists assist with camp chores (erecting tents, fetching water, cleaning up etc.). 
  • Ablutions are rudimentary - "Doug" is a small spade, "Lucy" is toilet seat on a light frame. 
  • These safaris operate on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian shorelines. In Zimbabwe, from Kariba to Kanyemba, in Zambia, from Kafue to Chongwe (equivalent to Zimbabwe's Chirundu to Mana Pools leg). 

These safaris offer the most flexibility and are suited for intrepid adventurers of all ages - from experience they are always a load of fun. Safety and track record of the operator is very important - we support only Shearwater, Safari Par Excellence and River Horse Safaris on the full participation canoe safaris.

Walking into Mana Pools and other safari areas on the Zimbabwean shoreline are not permitted on these safaris. 


Backed-up canoe safaris

Mana Pools elephants (courtesy Patrick Brakspear)These safaris  are a step up from the "full participation" trips in the sense that a full back up crew supports the safari as it progresses down the Zambezi. The best backed up trips operate in Zimbabwe on the Mana Pools shoreline from Ruckomechi to Chikwenya. A full blown mobile tented camp is used on the overnight stops on the Mana mainland. Meals are of a high home-cooked standard and you'll find all the facilities generally associated with permanent tented camps.

These safaris make use of Professional Guides - some of whom are widely regarded as ranking amongst the best in Africa. An added advantage of these safaris is the availability of vehicles and walking options where game activity invites a break from the river.  (Walking within Mana Pools is permitted on these safaris.)

  • We support Patrick Brakspear's Classic Africa Safaris operation - James Varden of Natureways also has an excellent reputation. 
  • In Zambia, Sobek operate from Kafue to Chongwe utilising semi-permanent camps en-route. Safari Par Excellence run the Great Zambezi Trail, a deluxe canoe safari using Kayila and Mwambashi
  • All of these operations have impeccable safety records and their guiding standards are the best on offer. 

Canoe trails are an optional activity on offer at the permanent camps in Mana Pools - Ruckomechi, Chikwenya and Ivan Carter's Africa Under Canvas are good options for a short trail.  Find out more about the walking safaris.



Tailor made canoe safaris

In addition to these basic formats we also offer tailor made safaris to suit specific group needs [
speak to Nikki, Liz, Rosa  or Trish]. As examples, 

  • We run a dozen or so canoe safaris specifically for children each season - in each case, a Professional Guide leads the group - the educational value of these trips is immense. 
  • Avid photographers, particularly those who have visited Africa several times require a lot more flexibility in terms of diversions or layovers to capture their best shots - it's often better to arrange an exclusive canoe safari with a specific guide - we make these sorts of arrangements on a regular basis.



Combination walking and canoeing safaris

Walking and canoeing safaris are naturally complimentary. In both cases, 

  • you're getting a real "Africa in your face" type of experience, 
  • the lower Zambezi is logistically well connected to some of the best walking areas in Mana Pools and Matusadona so there's little wasted time in transit, 
  • and although the game and birdlife is generally common through the region, the terrain and environments can differ markedly and 
  • the use of River Guides and Professional Guides particularly in Zimbabwe adds generously to the overall experience.

The basic combinations revolve around 

  • a participation canoe safari on the lower Zambezi and a traditional tented camp in Matusadona or 
  • a backed up canoe safari in Mana with a tented and safari lodge combination in Matusadona.

Have a closer look at our walking safaris or consider the following combinations:


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Last update 30 December 2006

UK Head Office
Lakemans, 4 Broad Street, Modbury, Devon, PL21 0PS
Tel: +44 1548 830059 Fax: +44 1548 831351
Mobile: +44 7812 145573

African Head Office

The Heights, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 61 2532  Fax: +263 61 2291
Cell: +263 91 343616 

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