Some of the very best wildlife canoeing safaris in the world with importantly the very best guides can be found in Zimbabwe operating on the mighty Zambezi River. Canoeing safaris operate between Kariba along the river downstream to Mana Pools, a World Heritage Site. You can also do some fabulous canoeing safaris near Victoria Falls.
For many who embark on canoeing safaris this is their first venture on the water and no previous experience is really needed bar a reasonable level of fitness and while the ability to swim is not an absolute requirement being able to do so would clearly have some benefits!
Sailing down one of the most iconic rivers in the world you get the sense of exploring in by gone times. New adventure awaits around every corner and you can feel the real soul of Africa. The canoes used are self paddle two man inflatables. Especially trained canoeing guides will show and guide you along the waterways.
Whether you are only doing a morning’s canoeing or up to nine nights on a combined camping and walking safari, it is always wonderful to be out on the water. The combination safaris allow you to stretch your legs by walking deeper into the bush for a few hours and then returning back to the water and paddling in the afternoon.
Some of the best canoeing trips operate for three to four nights, camping on the banks of the Zambezi in the national parks. Not only are you surrounded by the wildlife during the day, at night after a day’s canoeing and drifting downstream, you can sit around the campfire under a ceiling of Southern African stars – it’s just a magical experience that you will never forget.
Everything is expertly taken care of and all of the camping kit is either carried with you or set up ahead of you in pre determined campsites and organised by a fully equipped and professional crew. As you paddle each day to the next location the whole camp is moved along with your luggage. The paddling tends to be around 22 kilometres per day.
This authentic African Safari experience is eco friendly as the camp leaves no trace on the land as you pass through. Paddlers only need to take their hat, sun block camera and binoculars.
Your campsite will be on the edge of the river so that when tiredness from the days adventures finally befall you and it becomes simply impossible for you to keep your eyes open for a second longer, you drift into the most blissful sleep serenaded by snorting hippo and wake up again totally refreshed to a chorus of chirping birds and ready for what the next day has in store.
The camping equipment includes tents that generally tend to be 3x3 metre dome tents and all have either chemical loos or shared short drop loos. Safari bucket showers are fabulous for showering under the stars after a day in the sun. Meals are prepared for you over the coals and it’s just amazing to sample the variety of high standard of delicious meals that are produced.
The Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa (2574 kms long) and along its length especially through these canoeing areas of Zimbabwe, there are stunningly beautiful landscapes.
Behind the riverine forest with its mangosteen, jackalberry and Ana trees, lie plains with baobabs and mopane that are home to a variety of wildlife.
When canoeing near Victoria Falls watch out for baboons cavorting in the trees and hippo on the edges of the palm tree lined water. There are even some smaller rapids to navigate with swirls and deep currents.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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