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Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

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Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller


can anybody share some insights on the canoe safaris offered on the lower Zambezi (Zimbabwe) : I'm used to rough canoeing from the Yukon (in terms of camping etc..);

but how are the game encounters? Hairy- scary? how is the safety on these trips? any suggested outfitter, local agent? my travel time will be in September,

appreciate any kind of feedback,

many thanks

Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
51 posts
53 reviews
1. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

I can point you in the right direction as l know of A company that specializes on these. Let me know what your plans are and can help IOU get that arranged

Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller


Many thanks; time would be in October, like to spend possibly 3 days canoeing, either canoe trail style or from a set up camp with day trips. Followed by 5 days good walking safari with a great guide,

Any feedback appreciated

Maine or Africa
Level Contributor
64 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

We set up the first one of these trips over ten years ago. You will see a large variety of game on this trip. The river is not a quick current so does not require whitewater experience canoeing. you will likely come across several hippo in the river but your guide is proficient in maneuvering around these animals safely. You will also see an abundance of elephant as you travel the river. Depending on your itinerary, you will likely overnight in a tented camp along the route. These are set up prior to your arrival and are very nice tented camps which provide the experience of old Africa.

Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

Hi, many thanks; you say that you set up the first of these trips.... are you still organizing these trip?? do you know the best outfitter for these, I found a few through the web, but would prefer some personal recommendations from people who know the area.

many thanks, Renate

Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
3,317 posts
5. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

I did a 6 night canoe safari in 2009, from the Zambian side. I actually booked through a UK tour company Exodus (see http://www.exodus.co.uk/holidays/azc/overview). The local operator was River Horse Safaris. This was a very basic trip in terms of comforts.

You could try to book directly with a local tour operator. However, I think the problem you will find as a solo traveller is that either you will have to pay a lot for a private trip just for you (if the company will even do this- most say minimum of 2 for a trip to run), or you will have difficultly finding a group you can join. You might be lucky and find an operator that could add you onto an existing trip but you might have to wait until close to the time and be very flexible with dates. I don't know how contactable River Horse are, but I believe they take bookings through Safari Par Excellence agency- it would be worth contacting them.

There are more luxurious options available, and you might have a better chance getting one as a solo traveller with, for example, a canoe trail from Ruckomechi camp (Wilderness Safaris).

Level Contributor
4 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

many thanks for the feedback, yes you are right- I figured that out during my research now and got in touch with the suggested operators ,

again many thanks

Wayzata, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2,628 posts
30 reviews
7. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

If you want to consider the Zimbabwe side in Mana Pools like you originally mentioned then you should consider Ruckomechi. I mostly say this because you are a single traveler and they have a set program. This camp is owned by Wilderness Safaris and, from there, they operate a group departure canoeing trip (3 night/4 day) many times per year. Matt, an American at our company currently on a conservation furlough, was staff on this trip in 2010. After the trip you could spend one night at Ruckomechi then transfer over to Goliath to hike for a few days. It is a good program.

You could also contact Vundu, a privately owned camp in Mana Pools that specializes in canoe safaris. After the canoe portion you could transfer 15 minutes to Goliath. Or, you could spend all seven days at Goliath and mix & match the canoeing and hiking as they offer it.

I was at all these camps in 2011. October is going to be REALLY hot so go in September if you can.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond

2011 & 2012 Travel & Leisure A-List agent for Zimbabwe and Botswana

Kigali, Rwanda
Level Contributor
6 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

you may already have the info you need, but i just returned from a 4 day/3 night lower zambezi river canoe safari operated by river horse safaris. the guide, martin, was excellent. it was "participatory" camping style, which was fine by me. i was traveling solo, but the group with which i connected had one other single traveler so we canoed together.

the game viewing was not hugely diverse, but it was beautiful. we saw tons of hippos, crocs and elephants. we also saw impala, warthogs and a wide variety of birds. I enjoyed seeing the animals from the water's level, but if you want to stop and gaze, this probably isn't the trip for you. The current moves you and you do have to manoever around hippos and in-water stumps/trees, so there is not a lot of lingering time when you are in the boat. of course, when you get out of the boat, you have time to linger all you want.

the food and campsites were absolutely lovely and simple. the tents and sleeping linens/bags were perfectly adequate.

i enjoyed my trip. i was happy with the 3 night option (plenty for me; i'm not a water rat) and highly recommend Martin, who was a wonderful guide and kept us safe and happy.

i also stayed at Zambezi Breezers outside of Chirundu, Zambia for the night before the canoe trip started, and that was a great choice. the trip leaves from Breezers (i.e. Zambia), so it's convenient and a beautiful spot.

Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me with questions.

9. Re: Canoe safari - lower Zambezi-solo traveller

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