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Tamarind Canoe Safari

The Tamarind canoe safari is our most popular lower Zambezi canoe safari over 4 days from Chirundu down to Mana Pools World Heritage Site. One of the best ways to experience big game and real African wilderness.

Unquestionably the best canoe safari in Africa

  • Lower Zambezi River
  • Chirundu to Mana Pools
  • 4 days/3 nights

Our Lower Zambezi canoe safaris start from Kariba, 600km downstream of Victoria Falls. Paddling through the silent, deep gorges below Kariba. Through the languid but wild mainstream past Mana Pools to the largest, most remote, least populated and undeveloped safari areas – through Chewore, Sapi and the Mupata Gorge to Kanyemba. 230km of untame adventure!

Tamarind Canoe safari highlights…

  • Excellent wildlife
  • stargazing
  • top notch professional guides
  • perfect for adventurous spirits and serious safari people

When’s the best time to take a Zambezi canoe safari?

  • These trips are available throughout the year.
  • May and June – mildest weather and clearest skies
  • July to September – high season
  • October and November – devilishly hot, the game is at it’s very best and the migrant birds are in the Valley
  • November to March – wet season. The only option is to run the Kariba and Chirundu to Mana “participation” trips

How to choose the right canoe safari

We do it three ways – fairly tame, adventure style, intrepid…

Fairly tame: A 4 day shoreline trail from Ruckomechi down to Chikwenya. It’s the full Mana Pools stretch in the World Heritage Site. The trip starts from a 4 star premier lodge with first class hosting.  You move onto basic backed up camps for 3 nights. They’re 1 star. Encounters en route, land, water and otherwise are 5 star.

Adventure: We start from Kariba or Chirundu to do 4 or 6 days worth of canoeing. Your 19 foot Canadian canoe is well laden with provisions and camping kit. Your paddle will hold a mosquito net over a warm bedroll en route. In the wet season you’ll even have a small tent to keep you dry. Irrespective of season you probably won’t sleep much! The days are full and active, you’ll see a million stars at night.

Intrepid: We can include some premier lodging at the start and end of this bucket list experience but we get back to basics on these canoe safaris. We delight in doing all 230km camping style. The Kariba-Chirundu stretch is epic but quiet, the Chirundu-Mana is first-class wildlife. Fewer than 200 souls canoe the remote lower stretches each year. The full 10 day trip down to Kanyemba is worth a gazillion stars.

Private safaris can be arranged for up to 8 people in a party.

Walking trails are available.

Other canoe safaris here.

ItineraryFrom $763

Day 1 - Kariba to Chirundu (18km) Day 1 - Kariba to Chirundu (18km)

Early pick up from your hotel in Kariba. 4x4 transfer to Canoe HQ for briefing. Load up the canoes. Lunch on the river. Set up island camp on Kakomarara around 5pm, safety talk, relaxation and dinner.

Day 2 - Mana Pools National Park (27km) Day 2 - Mana Pools National Park (27km)

Rise at dawn, tea/coffee, biscuits then set off for a couple of hours paddling, stop for breakfast and canoe until midday. Lunch and siesta 'til mid-afternoon setting up camp on Lone Acacia Island.

Day 3 - Mana Pools National Park (23km) Day 3 - Mana Pools National Park (23km)

Routine as day 3. Mana Pools NP is one of Africa’s best game-viewing regions. Discover wildlife, diverse fauna and walk in the riverside forests. Stop at Trichelia Island to set up camp.

Day 4 - Departure (7km) Day 4 - Departure (7km)

A more leisurely start this morning, pack up camp and set off, canoeing to Mana Pools,a arriving around 10am for your return to Kariba by approx. 3pm.

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

Tips and notes

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

Green Season – November to May
High season – June to October

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 15 years of age will be accepted with mixed groups.
•15 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.

Canoeing equipment
The canoes are two-man Canadian-style canoes, and the paddles are American Carlisle paddles.
Camping equipment

Two-man dome tents, sleeping bags, liners, mattress, flysheet.

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.


Animals seen on the trip usually include elephant, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, hippo, crocodile and plentiful birdlife. Lion, leopard, painted hunting dog etc. are more rarely seen but are certainly in the area. We cannot guarantee plenty of game while on safari, particularly during the green (rainy) season.


Fantastic experience in Mana Pools

"Mana Pools – May It was a fantastic experience and exceeded all our expectations.  Our guide Bono Lunga was superb and he and his team made the safari very special. "

Charles F
Mana Pools and Victoria Falls

"Look no further! Our experience with the Zambezi Safari and Travel Company was faultless: We were particularly impressed with their detailed knowledge of the country and their attention to detail"

Debbie B
The best canoe trip!

"Canoeing the Lower Zambezi River was mind-blowing! Dear Liz, Yesterday I arrived back home in Germany, but in my mind and in my heart I am still in Africa. It"

Gunther
Thoroughly Enjoyed Canoe Safari

"Canoe Safari – July Hi Liz! We just returned from our 6-week trip and are finally settling in enough to attend to our email messages 🙂 Sorry for the delay."

Melinda
Unforgettable Tamarind Canoe Safari

"Zimbabwe July::  We had an amazing time. everything was really well organised and I have to say the trip is probably one of the best organised that I have ever"

Tina F
Zimbabwe Mana Pools canoe trail and safari

"Mana Pools Canoe – September Hi Mark Just wanted to let you know that Ruckomechi and the Mana Canoe Trail were amazing. It is said that Zimbabweans are the kindest"

Damien D

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