An incredible adventure holiday for those looking for a new and exciting experience, a canoeing holiday down the Lower Zambezi is usually a 4 - 5 day guided tour that allows visitors to take in the sights and sounds of the magnificent Zambezi River while floating and paddling gracefully down the river.
A tour usually begins in the lower region of the Zambezi River near to the area known as Ruckomechi. Visitors are flown in or transferred to Ruckomechi where they are met by their friendly guide and taken through the safety briefing and told more about the excursion. As soon as everyone is relaxed and comfortable the paddling commences!
Visitors climb into their sturdy Canadian canoes and the adventure begins. Padding into the Mana Pools National Park the first days distance is usually short, intended to give canoeists the chance to get used to the canoes and padding and after a few kilometres visitors arrive at the first camp which has been set up in advance.
After a relaxing evening on the river banks and a delicious meal it is time for bed as the following day starts early, typically before sunrise. Awoken just before dawn with steaming cups of coffee and biscuits you are on the water as quickly as possible for the next 2 hours of paddling.
The early morning start may seem like a jolt to the system but once on the water you will start to understand why. The early predawn experience is one of the highlights of the tour as the water is usually calm and peaceful.
Guided Bush Walk
After a while the guides will direct canoeists to the side of the river where everyone beaches their canoes and it is time to set off on a guided game walk. Taking a few hours to explore the surrounding African bush on foot, visitors may have the opportunity spot a number of game animals including Hippo, Elephant and possibly even Wild Dog, while gaining a greater understanding of the intricacies of life in the bush.
Lunch on the river bank returning to the canoes, visitors are given a light snack before launching the canoes back into the water for more relaxed paddle time. Around midday the group stops once again for a light lunch and a break before heading further down the river to the evening rest camp. All the luggage and the tents will have been moved by the camp staff during the day, ensuring the transition from camp to camp is seamless and as easy as possible for the guests. All that is required of the guests is to relax and take in the beauty and tranquillity of their surroundings.
What to Expect
Distances covered each day usually range from 20 - 25 kilometres (12.4 - 15.5 miles) in the canoes and the routines and activities are tailor-made around the guests' requirements and the movements of the game animals. The experience of a Zambezi canoe safari offers visitors a unique opportunity to embrace the pace and unrivalled beauty of the unspoilt Lower Zambezi's wilderness. Excellent bird-watching and incredible game viewing combine with the magnificent surroundings and thrilling sense of adventure as Africa seeps into your core and leaves you with a deep-rooted sense of tranquility.
Read more about the Lower Zambezi Valley
by Katie Findlay