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Absolute Zambia Safaris invites you to join them in discovering the great Zambezi on a canoe! You may expect to see abundant wildlife along the river from the Lower Zambezi National Park and Mana Pools National Park. The guides have vast experience and knowledge of nature, wildlife birds and local habitat, culture, and general knowledge as they have been guiding in these areas for many years. Absolute Zambia Safaris will make your safari experience in Zambia unforgettable.
On the day of arrival, you will be accommodated in a chalet at Pioneer Lodge & Camp in Lusaka. From day two and until the end of the safari you will be accommodated at a tent provided by Absolute Zambia Safaris. Two-man industrial mosquito netted bow tents are used. These allow for a full view of the night sky and give maximum aeration. Fold out mattresses, sleeping bags, sheet liners, and airline pillows are also provided, but guests may bring their own sleeping bags if desired. Other equipment includes cooler boxes, tables, chairs, gas cookers, melamine crockery, and cutlery plus other practical items to ensure a reasonable level of comfort on safari.
Upon arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN), you will be met and welcome by the representative guide from Absolute Zambia Safaris who will transfer you from the airport to Pioneer Lodge where you will spend one night based on (dinner, bed, and breakfast) before you canoeing safari.
Morning breakfast at Pioneer Lodge and the driver will transfer you to Zambezi Breeze where your wonderful canoeing safari will start.
Meet at Zambezi Breezes Lodge in Chirundu at approximately 10:00 a.m. for a two-hour road transfer downstream to the launch site. After a briefing and lunch on the banks of the river, you start your afternoon canoeing Mtondo Island for your first night camp, arriving at around 5:00 p.m. Canoeing on this day is kept to mainstream and is easy going with a strong current. You then set the camp followed by tea / coffee, snacks, and later dinner before retiring for the night.
Canoeing starts early after morning tea / coffee and biscuits. Approximately at 6:30 a.m., depart Mtondo Island for a downstream breakfast stop at approximately after two-hour canoeing. Continue through the Lower Zambezi National Park for lunch between 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. out of the midday sun. You then canoe through to your second nights camp on or around Chikwenya Island (weather permitting). This day, you cover a good 25 kilometers of the river through both Mana Pools National Park and the Lower Zambezi National Park.
As above in daily routine, on this day, you canoe through offshoot river channels where birdlife and game abound. Guides will stop at points of interest to observe wildlife from time to time. Some parts of the river at this point exceed three kilometers in width with a maze of channels to explore. Again, both sides of the river at this point are flanked by superb national parks where one is likely to see the highest concentration of game on the river. Tonight, you set the camp at G. Camp channels in a densely populated game area.
Today, you exit Mana Pools National Park and enter safari area on the south bank while continuing through the Lower Zambezi National Park to the north. The river begins to narrow down and the current becomes stronger as the river progresses into what is known as the False Mupata Gorge. From this point, the safari is confined to the mainstream for approximately 30 kilometers as you pass through this scenic gorge with steep rock formations and cliff edges. Camp on this night is selected from one of many pristine sandy beaches on the mainland within the confines of the gorge.
This day is spent canoeing through the rest of the Mupata Gorge, observing the 300 million-year-old volcanic rock formations that form part of the Great Rift Valley. Around midday, the canoes exit the gorge and the guide proceeds through to Red Cliffs for lunch and a break from the midday heat before continuing on to the nights' island campsite. However, depending on connecting flights the following day, the guide may consult with the team as to a more suitable camping site closer to the endpoint. However, Absolute Zambia Safaris does recommend that connecting flights are caught the day after the safari ends so as not to rush the end of this trip.
Depending on the selection of campsite, there is an early rise tea / coffee and breakfast before the remaining paddle through to the end of the canoeing safari. The take-out point is reached at approximately 9:00 a.m. for the return transfer to Lusaka. This drive is in an open-backed Land Cruiser with a shaded canopy. Alternatively, and depending on the group’s requirements and wishes, you may continue to paddle on the day five through to the Feira take out point. This means, the transfer will be able to leave earlier for the return five-hour trip to Lusaka, but it means there will be no canoeing on the last day. Lunch will be on the way back on the roadside under a tree.
During the hot summer months, early morning departures are encouraged to make the most of the cooler time and also to cover a reasonable distance before the wind may pick up. Deep shade is sought in the hottest part of the day for lunch breaks and rest. Canoeing continues to overnight stops as it becomes cooler again in the late afternoons. Four-wheel drive vehicles with trailer canoes and equipment are used for the return transfer to Lusaka at the end of the safari.
No previous canoeing experience is necessary although Absolute Zambia Safaris recommends a reasonable level of fitness. At certain times of the year, strong winds may occur which makes paddling more difficult. Should this happen, the guide will wait for the wind to drop off before carrying on where ever possible. Guides have ultimate jurisdiction when determining the course of action required for the safety and welfare of the guests.
Fiberglass 18-feet two-man Canadian style canoes are used for their robust structure with single bladed paddles. Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers with fixed bucket seats. Containment nets to ensure safari and personal belongings are secure at all times. Life jackets are supplied but all clients must be able to swim. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are generally used as support vehicles for the return transfers while boats and aircraft may be useful options when required.
These canoeing safaris are self-contained. All safari equipment is carried in the canoes for the duration of the trip. Guides prepare meals while the guests participate in erecting their tents, sorting out their bedding, and helping with general loading and offloading of their canoes.
All guides are qualified through the governing bodies of both the Zambian and Zimbabwe wildlife and national parks authorities qualifying them to lead canoeing and walking safaris having passed both practical and written exams. In addition, all guides have a minimum practical training period of two years with the company prior to becoming a trip leader. H20 proof Pelican cases are carried as first aid boxes with the basic essentials.
You are likely going to be guided by different guides depending on the destinations you will cover as these are not fixed dates safari and tours. However, all the guides are qualified from different associations depending on the destination but all with licenses that are issued by Department of National Parks and Wildlife under the ministry of tourism Country word as they have to pass the exams. Guides are categorized in two which are Grade 1 and 2. Grade 1 are the guides that have the license to drive and do walking safaris and Grade 2 are the ones that have a license to drive and not to walk.
You will be canoeing on the Zambezi river to discover several points of interest in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
Three meals a day, cordial soft drinks, and safe, treated water is supplied on every safari. Those wishing to bring their own bottled water may do so. Cooler boxes are provided should clients wish to bring their own selection of beverages for the duration of the safari.
Unless notified, meals will follow the program below. Please note that Absolute Zambia Safaris requires prior warning of at least two weeks to cater for special diets or allergies to particular ingredients, etc. The main dinners are in most cases part pre-cooked and deep frozen prior to the safari, so it is important to have sufficient notice of what is required.
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