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Safari Par Excellence
Safari Par Excellence

Safari Par Excellence
The Great Zambezi Trail

Safari Par Excellence

Upper Zambezi Canoeing
Thorntree Canoeing
Mukuyu Trail
The Island Trail
Kariba Gorge Trail


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Buffalo in camp - lower Zambezi

Canoeing with Safpar

Safari Par Excellence conducts canoeing safaris on the northern banks of the Zambezi River between the Kafue confluence and the Chakwenga River (approximately 50 km down river from Nyamepi - Mana Pools H.Q.). This area is known as the Lower Zambezi.

Canoeing the lower Zambezi
This is one of the least known and amongst the best three trips on the Zambezi.

Camp resident - lower Zambezi

The Great Zambezi Trail is a three night / four day trip from the Kafue River to Mwambashi River Lodge in Zambia.

Departures from Kariba are every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1st April to 15 November.


  • Safari Par Excellence strongly recommends that guests arrive in Kariba the night prior to the start of the safari to attend a pre-departure meeting at the Cutty Sark Hotel at 19h00. The preferred meeting place and time in Kariba is the Cutty Sark Hotel at 10h00. However, clients requiring pick-ups from other hotels in Kariba will be collected at approximately 09h30. All clients then congregate at the Safari Par Excellence offices to complete customs and immigration formalities before setting off for the start of the canoe trip.

  • On the last day of the safari guests are advised to make reservations in a Kariba/Lusaka Hotel, where clients will be dropped off at approximately 15h30.

  • Zambian clients requiring transfers to and from the start of the canoe safari, are on request.


  • Transfers from Kariba to the Kafue River are by vehicle. Customs and immigration formalities are necessary if transfers are from Kariba. Facilitation at both border posts has been organised and the procedure is relatively quick with the transfer across the Dam Wall being enjoyed by all clients. The vehicle transfer from the border to the Kafue River is approximately 2 hours.

  • From here you are transported to the start of your canoe trip by power boat (approximately 45 minutes). We do not conduct endurance trips and prefer to adopt a very relaxed and leisurely pace. Due to the fact that camps and pick-up points are only 20 - 30kms apart, time is plentiful and hence crack-of-dawn departures are not frequent.

  • Generally guests are ready for breakfast at approximately 08h00 to 08h30. After breakfast, guests pack their luggage which is transferred to the next camp by banana boat or vehicle.

  • At the guides discretion, the safari will make stops during the day for walking, fishing, swimming or game and bird watching. Most of the day is spent in narrow channels which separate from the main river and are prolific in bird and animal life.

  • Lunch is taken on the banks or on islands in the middle of the river. A cold buffet (which has been prepared by the chef and kitchen staff) and drinks are carried in cooler boxes in the canoes.

  • The next camp or pick-up comes into sight late afternoon depending on the time spent game viewing, fishing etc. Tea, coffee, cold drinks and biscuits are ready to welcome you while the camp staff unload and clean the canoes.

  • Guests are shown to their accommodation and after a refreshing shower, gather around the fire for early evening sundowners and snacks.

  • Three course dinners are normally served at around 20h00 by experienced and uniformed waiters. Vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for providing Safari Par Excellence has been notified well in advance.

  • NB: On day four, after breakfast, clients enjoy a drive through the National Park to the Chongwe River and onward boat transfer to the Kafue River. Clients are then transferred by road to Kariba.

  • NO canoeing takes place on the last day.


  • Minimum: 2 Pax

  • Maximum: 9 Pax


  • The minimum age is 15 years. The maximum age limit is dependent on the individuals fitness and health.


  • No experience is necessary and guests need not be physically fit. Paddling is not strenuous and is more to keep direction than forward motion. Clients do not have to be able to swim. Life jackets are provided on all safaris.


Safari Par Excellence prides itself in being one of the few operators on the Zambezi River to offer a unique style of canoe safari with three fully serviced camps on the river banks between which our canoe safaris are conducted.

NIGHT ONE: Is spent at Mtondo Camp which enjoys ensuite facilities.

NIGHT TWO: Is spent at Chongwe Camp, this being reed and thatch chalet with ensuite flush toilets and hot/cold showers.

NIGHT THREE: Is spent at Mwambashi River Lodge in the Zambezi National Park.

Each camp is equipped with the following:

  • beds with mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows and towels.

  • flush toilets and hot and cold showers.

  • dining/entertainment area

  • bar facilities, fridges and deep freezes

  • excellent food

  • camp staff to attend to your every need

  • radio communication with each canoe, vehicle, boat, camp and head office in Lusaka, Kariba and Harare

  • comprehensive medical kit

  • 4 x 4 vehicles for game drives and transferring clients and canoes at the end of each safari.

  • Comprehensive medical aid box and VHF radio in a watertight floatable pelican case are carried by the professional guide.


NOTE: There are two airstrips:

1) At Mtondo at the start of the safari (Kayila airstrip)

2) Near Mwambashi at the end of the safari (Jeki " )









Fly in / fly out canoe safaris can be arranged on request.


  • All food is of a high standard served to you by experienced uniformed waiters. All food, meat, fruit and vegetables are fresh and prepared by an experienced chef assisted by kitchen staff.

    • Breakfast: fruit and/or cereals, full English breakfast, toast with a selection of jams and marmalades

    • Lunch: a prepared cold buffet is taken on the banks of the river. Lunch, tables, tablecloths and chairs are carried in the canoes.

    • Dinner: chosen from a selection of soups, fruit, roast, stews, barbecues and deserts.

  • Whilst in camp, an assortment of pre-dinner snacks are prepared and enjoyed around the fire during sundowner time. Drinks supplied on your safari include:

    • Orange, lime, peach and lemon barley cordials.

    • Beer, vodka, cane spirit, gin, brandy and whiskey.

    • Coke, soda, tonic and lemonade.

    • Imported red and white wine is served with dinner. There will be sufficient alcohol in all our camps to accommodate reasonable client requirements.


Guests are asked to please keep luggage down to a minimum - +- 10 kg. Excess baggage and valuables can be kept safely at our office in Kariba/Lusaka to collect on your return.

Requirements include:

  • If travelling from Zimbabwe return air tickets if not a resident of Zimbabwe

  • Valid travel and health documents

  • Double entry visas for people requiring visas for re-entry into Zimbabwe. It is advisable for all clients to check with the Zambian authorities whether or not they need visas for Zambia, and if necessary obtain their visas prior to departure.

Visa requirements:

  • Passport holders which DO NOT NEED VISAS are: Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and just about all African countries, including South Africa.

  • MOST OTHER countries therefore need visas.

  • The following passport holders need to obtain Zambian visas from a Zambian Embassy BEFORE entering, and CANNOT obtain one from the border post like other travellers: DANISH, SWEDISH AND FINNISH.


All canoe safari guides carry VHF hand held radios. Each camp has an HF and VHF base set which allows us to communicate between our base camps, various offices in Lusaka, Kariba, Harare, National Parks and MARS (Medical Air Rescue Service).


01 April to 15 November (subject to rains)

UK Head Office
Shilston Barton, Modbury, Devon, PL21 OTW
Tel/Fax: +44 1548 830059

Zimbabwe Head Office
The Heights, PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 61 2532  Fax: +263 61 2291

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