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Zambezi Classic – Chirundu to Kanyemba

Paddle a Canadian canoe on our classic canoe safari from Chirundu through to the floodplains of the Zambezi and past the shoreline of Mana Pools National Park. Camp overnight on the islands of the mighty Zambezi River.

Discover the explorer within and join our Classic Canoe journey along the Zambezi River. Course through the red cliffs of the Mupata Gorge dotted with many species of flora and fauna and on to the gorge at Kanyemba.  This is the Zambezi Classic Short canoe trip. Our classic canoe safari includes participation camping so guests will be required to help out with camp chores and setting up the tents.

  • Lower Zambezi
  • Chirundu to Kanyemba sections
  • 182 km’s

Highlights of the Classic Canoe Safari

  • get into the spirit a pioneering explorer
  • paddle 182 km of the mighty Zambezi River in a Canadian canoe
  • the shorelines of the Lower Zambezi National Park and Mana Pools offer endless opportunities for big game viewing along the broad floodplains. Wildlife roam the plains and the rugged escarpment on either side of the valley
  • we’re canoeing through different ecosystems so there should be some good wildlife encounters along the way. We’ve previously seen elephant, impala, waterbuck, buffalo, hippo and crocodile. Also, more elusive but resident in the area are leopard, lion and African wild dog
  • this is also a good area for seeing some interesting flora and fauna
  • fully qualified canoe guides will accompany us for the duration of the canoe safari
  • get back to nature and experience the real flow of Africa

Best time to do the Classic Canoe Safari

  • September/October: very hot but a good time to see concentrations of game before the rains come
  • April to November: days are sunny but the nights are cool

Read More about canoeing in Africa and other canoe safaris

More canoeing options  on our sister website

(Elephants on the Mana Pools floodplain by Dana Allen courtesy Wilderness Safaris)

ItineraryFrom $1335

Day 1 - Kariba, Lower Zambezi - 18 km - Kakomarara Day 1 - Kariba, Lower Zambezi - 18 km - Kakomarara

Start your canoeing adventure from Kariba. 4x4 transfer to Chirundu for a safety talk followed by lunch on the river. Paddle until around 5pm and set up camp on Kakomarara island, relax and dinner.

Day 2 - Lone Acacia Island - 27 km Day 2 - Lone Acacia Island - 27 km

Up at sunrise for tea and biscuits. Paddle for a couple of hours until breakfast. Get back on the river and canoe until midday. Lunch and siesta time. Paddle again to Lone Acacia Island.

Day 3 - Trichelia Island - 23 km Day 3 - Trichelia Island - 23 km

Days spent on the river follow a similar pattern but the landscape and wildlife are ever changing. Evenings are spent relaxing and discussing the events and sightings of the day.

Day 4 - Chikwenya Island - 27 km Day 4 - Chikwenya Island - 27 km

Camping at the confluence of the Zambezi and Sapi rivers in the Mana Pools NP with excellent views of the mountains of the Rift valley

Day 5 - False Gorge - 25 km Day 5 - False Gorge - 25 km

Located close to G Camp, the False Gorge Camp is situated in the Sapi Safari area of Zimbabwe. A very concentrated wildlife area.

Day 6 -  Mupata Gorge - 20 km Day 6 - Mupata Gorge - 20 km

A short morning’s paddle followed by breakfast either on the banks of the river or on an island. Canoe until midday then stop for lunch and a siesta then canoe to the top end of Mapata Gorge.

Day 7 - Towering Red Cliffs Camp - 35 km Day 7 - Towering Red Cliffs Camp - 35 km

Known for its tiger fishing opportunities, camp at the base of the Towering Red Cliffs Camp, on a breathtaking portion of the Zambezi River. Surrounded by spectacular red sandstone cliffs,

Day 8 - Departure - Kanyemba - Kariba - 7 km Day 8 - Departure - Kanyemba - Kariba - 7 km

Early wake-up call for breakfast, paddle down to the takeout point at Kanyemba. The equipment will be loaded onto the vehicle and you will be transferred back to Kariba.

View full digital itinerary here
Useful info Tips and notesHow to get thereWildlife

Tips and notes

There are two canoeing seasons – green season and high season.

Green Season – November to May

US$1,335 per person excluding parks fees, including 2% tourism levy and 15% VAT

High season – June to October

US$1,432 per person excluding parks fees, including 2% tourism levy and 15% VAT

No single supplement applies unless clients request a private safari.

Price Includes: Road transfers from and to Kariba Town. All meals. Drinks include mineral water, cordials, tea, coffee and imported wine with dinner. Use of` camping and canoe equipment. Services of a qualified canoe guide.
Price ExcludesDrinks not mentioned above (soft drinks and alcohol). National Parks Fees and any personal expenses

CHILD POLICY: As a general rule we do not recommend children under 14 years of age on canoe safaris for safety reasons.
• No children under 14 years of age will be accepted with mixed groups.
• Children under 14 years of age are welcome if the trip is private or in conjunction with other families.
• Please note that our Camp Zambezi Safari is our most family friendly and children of all ages are welcome.
0 to 5 years of age – One child is free of charge, second child 50% of adult rate.
6 to 13 years of age – 50% of adult rate.
14 years of age and above full adult rate.

Note: Your luggage for the safari should not exceed 10 kilos per person. We recommend using a soft duffel bag and not a suitcase.

How to get there

Our canoe trips are semi participatory, and you’ll carry everything in your canoe in the same manner as the Zambezi River’s first explorers. A  fully qualified canoe guide will navigate you down the river and take care of the cooking, washing up and other camp tasks. Each safari we offer covers a different section on the Zambezi River each offering a unique experience.  All our safaris are eco friendly, we believe in leaving each campsite as nature made it.

Road transfers are including to and from Kariba Town. This is a three hour transfer each way, in the back of an open vehicle, towing your canoes on a trailer behind you. Air transfers may be arranged at an extra cost.

We recommend staying in Kariba the night before. If you’d like us to arrange this night for you, please chat to your consultant.


Magnificent Zambezi elephants that feed off acacia pods


Leopard, cheetah and lion

380 species of birds including Nyasa lovebird, eagles, many species of storks, Livingstone’s flycatcher, white -collared pratingcole, banded snake eagle, fish eagles, waterfowl, heron just to name a few. Carmine bee eaters visit in the summer months, and African skimmer and Pel’s fishing owls are seen along the banks.

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Best Locations

Lower Zambezi Lower Zambezi

The Lower Zambezi National Park includes a handful of excellent camps and safari lodges along the lower stretch of the Zambezi River

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Mana Pools National Park Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is best known for Zambezi canoeing and walking safaris

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