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Semi-Participatory Zimbabwe Safari

This vacation offers an expeditionary-styled canoe safari. Relax while floating leisurely with the current of the Zambezi River taking in all the peace and tranquillity of the untouched wilderness. This safari comes with a fully qualified canoe guide who will navigate you down the great Zambezi. He will take care of the cooking, washing, and other camp tasks and being semi-participatory, guests are free to help. The safari is eco-friendly, leaving each campsite as nature made it.

Key information

  • Group and private safari possible, rates will vary depending on this.
  • Group size: Minimum of 2 and maximum of 8
  • Children from the age of 14 years are allowed to participate under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • Starting from Kariba Dam wall and ends in Mana Pools National Park
  • English speaking guide
  • National Parks Fees of USD 76.00 per person are not included (rate is subject to change without notice) and paid directly to National Parks in cash


  • Canoeing safari
  • Fully qualified canoe guide
  • Use of a two-man Canadian-style canoe
  • Road transfers from and to Kariba by 4x4 vehicle
  • 2 liters of mineral water per person per day
  • Tea, coffee, cordials, and imported wine
  • 2 nights' accommodation
  • Good standard meals


3 activity days
Group size: 2-8 participants
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Check-in Time:
Check-out Time:

During this safari, you will be accommodated in various campsites along the Lower Zambezi River, including Crocodile Rocks Island (first night), Twin Logs Island (second night). Accommodation is in small dome tents.

This safari is a semi-participatory - meaning the camps are not already set up for your arrival and that everyone helps to put up tents, cooking, and washing up each evening.

All camping equipment is supplied. This includes gas stoves, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, plastic plates, mugs, tables, stools, camping mattresses, sleeping bags and liners, candles, matches, cooler boxes, and dome tents. Clients can bring their own sleeping bags if preferred.

There are no ablution facilities on these safaris. Clients are provided with a spade, toilet paper, and matches - with which to burn the toilet paper. Bathing is done from a bucket using water scooped out of the river.


This semi-participatory safari begins and ends in Kariba. The safari departs from Natureways Safaris office in Kariba. You can self-drive there or be picked up by Natureways Safaris from their various hotels at 07:30. Once at the office, you may arrange for excess luggage and valuables to be locked away safely until their return.

A short briefing will then be given to help you understand what the trip entails and any questions will be answered. A shopping trip follows to allow the purchase of any additional groceries or personal items required and to purchase particular drinks you may want. You will then be driven to the starting point of their safari.

Daily routine

Generally, the day starts with tea or coffee and biscuits at sunrise. Your camp is then packed up and the party sets off. Early mornings make for easy paddling as the wind is calm and it is not yet too hot. A stop will be made for breakfast, usually after a couple of hours.

The trip continues after breakfast until breaking for a light lunch and siesta to avoid the midday heat. The night stop is reached at approximately 17:00 and the camp is unpacked and setup. Campsites are typically set up on islands and all sites are designated by national parks.


There are no ablution facilities on these safaris. You are provided with a spade, toilet paper, and matches - with which to burn the toilet paper. Bathing is done from a bucket using water scooped out of the river.

Backup status

This safari is self-contained. All equipment and food are carried in the canoes and there is no vehicle back-up apart from drop-off and pick-up. As this safari is semi-participatory, you are required to help set up tents and to assist the guide with the cooking and washing up.


Animals seen on the trip usually include elephants, buffalos, impalas, waterbucks, hippos, crocodiles, and plentiful birdlife. Lions, leopards, painted hunting dogs, etc. are more rarely seen but are certainly in the area. Natureways Safaris cannot guarantee plenty of game while on safari, particularly during the green (rainy) season.


Day 1 (18 kilometers)

Natureways Safaris will collect you in the morning of your safari at 07:30 in good time for a check-in at Natureways Safaris office, handing in extra luggage and valuables. Please do not take your passport on the river. There will be a short briefing to summarize what the safari entails and questions may be asked. You will be required to sign an indemnity form before leaving on the safari.

After the briefing, a visit to the shops will be made, purchasing any extra drinks wanted for the trip before setting off for the river. Please note that credit cards are not a recommended payment option in Zimbabwe. After arriving at the starting point, your luggage will be portered into the gorge and your group will walk 1.5 kilometers down to the river - quite a long, steep descent.

All canoes and camping equipment will have already been carried into the gorge and packed. A safety talk and demonstration on how to paddle a canoe will be given after which you will be launched, then paddling until a stop is made for lunch. Lunch is picnic-style affair after which there will be time for a siesta to avoid the worst heat of the day at which time canoeing recommences.

At approximately 17:00, you will arrive and set up your camp on an island named Crocodile Rocks. There will be time to have a bucket bath, relax, and eat dinner after a brief safety talk on camping.

Day 2 (27 kilometers)

You will be woken at sunrise for tea, coffee, and biscuits before canoeing a couple of hours and stopping for a leisurely breakfast. After breakfast, you will set off

once again, enjoying the incredible scenery of the Zambezi Valley. A lunch stop will be made at the first suitable spot - with time, once again, for a siesta. In the early evening, the second campsite at Twin Logs Island will be reached.

Day 3 (20 kilometers)

Wake up at sunrise for tea, coffee, biscuits, and breakfast before going on the river. Between 10:30 and 11:00, the pick-up point at Chirundu will be reached. Here, the equipment will be loaded for the return trip to Kariba or Kariba Airport (KAB). The arrival back in Kariba is estimated to be 15:00. As you depart with your memories, It's known that this experience will have enriched your life and touched your soul!


  • Please note that this is an explorer canoe safari and there are no fixed ablution facilities along the way.
  • All timings given in this trip description are an approximation and will vary from trip to trip.
  • This itinerary is a guideline and may change due to unforeseen circumstances like weather conditions.


The safari begins in Kariba Town where you are collected from your lodge/hotel the morning of your trip. The Marula Canoe Safari starts 8 kilometers below the Kariba Dam wall and ends in Chirundu covering a total of 59 kilometers from start to finish. The safari will travel 18 kilometers through the Kariba Gorge which is narrow and steep-sided. After the gorge, the terrain opens up offering an abundant variety of birdlife and antelopes. Occasionally, elephants and buffalos can be seen on this stretch of the river.


All meals will be supplied and are of a good standard. The meat and poultry dishes are precooked, frozen, and stored in a cooler box during the safari. Some fresh fruit and vegetables will also be supplied on the safari. The meals will consist of:

  • Breakfast usually consists of fruit, eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans or tomato relish, toast, and jams.
  • Lunch consists of cold meats, salads, cheese, and bread.
  • Dinner consists of a variety of meat and vegetable dishes, such as chicken curry, beef stroganoff, fish and chips, etc.

Tea, coffee, cordials, and imported wine will be provided on during this safari. You will also be provided with 2 liters of bottled mineral water per person per day. You are advised to bring your own minerals (soft drinks), beer, and spirits. You will be able to purchase these in the shops prior to departure. Minerals and beers must be bought in cans to reduce the weight and space.

A cooler box is set aside for keeping drinks cold. There are no opportunities to replenish stocks on the river. Natureways Safaris caters for dietary preferences, such as vegetarian or diabetic. However, Natureways Safaris requires advance warning at least 14 days before the trip.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 2 nights' accommodation
  • Basic drinks (water, tea, coffee, cordials and imported wine with dinner)
  • Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners.
  • Canoeing and Camping Equipment.
  • Fully qualified Canoe Guide.
  • Road transfers in open 4x4 vehicles to and from Kariba town at the start and end of your trip.
  • 2% Tourism levy and 15% VAT

What's not included

  • Additional drinks (soft drinks, beers and alcohol).
  • Parks fees of USD 76.00 per person subject to change without prior notice and paid directly to the National Parks in cash.
  • Costs of a Personal Nature.
  • Anything else not mentioned in the whats included section

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Harare

  • The drive from Harare to Kariba is approximately 4 hours. Drive along the main Harare - Chirundu road and turn left at the Kariba signpost just before the Makuti Garage and Hotel. This is approximately 295 kilometers from Harare, about 3 hours travel time.
  • Once you have turned left, drive down the escarpment towards Kariba. This section takes approximately 1 hour.
  • You will pass the Kariba Airport (KAB) and Nyamunga Township on your left, continue towards the Kariba Dam Wall.
  • Once you reach a ‘T’ junction, turn left (right takes you to the Kariba Heights) and travel 1.4 kilometers, passing a Zuva fuel station on your right.
  • Turn left on to Sable Drive (ZESA Offices are opposite the turning).
  • Take the second left turning after approximately 400 meters (the swift depot is on the corner).
  • Travel 1.1 kilometers and turn right on Mhembwe Close.
  • Natureways Safaris' sign is on the left side.

Driving directions from Kariba Dam Wall

  • The drive from the Kariba Dam Wall is approximately 10 minutes. Continue straight on the road from the Dam Wall, take the second road on the right hand side onto Sable Drive. ZESA offices are directly opposite the turning on the left hand side.
  • Take the second left turning after approximately 400 meters (the swift depot is on the corner).
  • Travel 1.1 kilometers and turn right on Mhembwe Close.
  • Natureways Safaris' sign is on the left side.

Arrival by airplane

Natureways Safaris can provide transfers from the Kariba Airport (KAB) to lodges and harbors. Please send Natureways Safaris an inquiry for costs and availability.

Arrival by bus

There are coaches that travel between Harare and Kariba town but these cannot be arranged by Natureways Safaris as departure times are not set.

Arrival by ferry / boat

The Kariba Ferry is a convenient and fun way to get to and from Kariba town and Victoria Falls or Hwange. The ferry runs on scheduled departure days to and from Mlibizi and Kariba town. It’s a 22 hour journey departing at 10:30 and arriving at 08:00. The ferry takes both vehicles and passengers.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
3 days / 2 nights
from --

This vacation is available all year round, please select an arrival date below.

Green season
  • November 1 - May 30
High season
  • June 1 - October 31
Booking information

Private safaris can be arranged if you book a package with minimum 4 people.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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