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Mana Pools to Chawore Canoe Safari in Zimbabwe

This Mopane safari begins in Mana Pools National Park where you'll explore the shoreline up to Chewore. The safari travels 70 kilometers of the impressive Zambezi River. Mana Pools National Park is Zimbabwe’s second World Heritage Site and stretches across 2,000 square kilometers offering an ambiance that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. The park is full of games offering 380 bird species and numerous mammals including elephants, buffalo, lions, and a variety of antelope.

Key information

  • Group and private safari possible, rates will vary depending on this.
  • Children from the age of 14 years are allowed to participate under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • Starts and ends in Kariba
  • English-speaking guide
  • Park fees are not included, ask Natureways Safaris for the price


  • Canoe safari down the Lower Zambezi
  • Service of a fully qualified canoe guide
  • Spot hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, and more
  • Two-man Canadian-style canoes and American Carlisle paddles
  • Road transfers from and to Kariba
  • Meals and drinks are provided
  • 3 nights camping


4 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, at Nyamatusi Island (first night), G Camp (second night), and Chewore High Sand Bank (third night). Accommodation is in small dome tents.

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

All camping equipment is supplied. This includes gas stoves, kitchen utensils, pots, pans, plastic plates, mugs, tables, stools, camping mattresses, sleeping bags, liners, candles, matches, cooler boxes, and two-man dome tents. You can bring your own sleeping bags if preferred. Fishing equipment is not supplied but you may bring your own.

There will be no ablution facilities on this safari. You will be provided with a spade, toilet paper, and matches to burn the toilet paper. Bathing is done from a bucket using water scooped out of the river.



Day 1 (18 kilometers)

Natureways Safaris will collect you on 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. Guests 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. Your group will be transferred in open 4x4 vehicles to Nyamepi (Mana Pools main camp) arriving at approximately 13:30.

The canoes and kit will be off-loaded. The guide will give a safety talk and demonstration on how to paddle and lunch will be served before you begin canoeing. You will paddle until early evening reaching the first night’s camp on Nyamatusi Island. There is time to have a bucket bath, relax, and have dinner after a brief safety talk on camping by your guide.

Day 2 (25 kilometers)

You will be woken early for tea, coffee, and biscuits before a short morning’s paddle. Breakfast will be served either on the banks of the river or on an island. Afterward, the group will resume canoeing until around midday - stopping for lunch and a brief siesta on the river bank till the midday heat passes. Canoeing will then continue on until early evening. The second night’s stop is made at G-Camp in the channels.

Day 3 (20 kilometers)

The programme is as per day two with the night’s camp being set up at Chewore High Sand Bank.

Day 4 (7 kilometers)

Tea, coffee, and biscuits are taken after a more leisurely start to the day. Following breakfast, the camp will be broken and you will depart at approximately 08:00. On arriving at Chewore at 10:00, canoes and equipment will be loaded onto the vehicle for the return trip to Kariba - a packed lunch is served en route. Arrival time in Kariba is approximately 15:00.

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 i.e. weather conditions.

This semi-participatory explorer canoe safari begins and ends in Kariba (unless by other arrangements) and it is recommended that clients spend the night prior to their safari’s departure in Kariba town. Natureways Safaris can assist with booking this accommodation.

Your safari departs from Natureways Safaris' offices in Kariba, clients can self-drive there or be picked up from their various hotels at 07:30. Once at the office, clients may arrange for excess luggage and valuables to be locked away safely until their return (it is not recommended to take passports or valuables onto the river).

A short briefing will then be given to help clients 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, as well as to purchase particular drinks clients may want. Clients will then be driven to the starting point of their safari.

Animals that can be seen on the trip usually include elephants, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, 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.

The canoes used in this safari are two-man Canadian-style canoes, and the paddles are American Carlisle paddles. No previous canoeing experience is necessary but guests are required to be reasonably fit and healthy.

The maximum luggage limit per client to take on the river is 10 kilograms, packed in a soft duffel bag, not a suitcase. A luggage room and safe facilities are provided for any extra luggage at the Kariba office. This safari is self-contained, all equipment and food are carried in the canoes and there is no vehicle backup apart from drop-off and pick-up.

Daily routines

Generally, the day starts with tea / coffee and biscuits at sunrise. The 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 set up. Campsites are typically set up on islands and all sites are designated by national parks.


This safari will take place along the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe. The safari begins in Kariba Town where you are collected from your lodge/hotel the morning of your trip, the safari starts from Mana Pools National Park and ends in Chewore.


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
  • Drinks

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

  • Services of a fully qualified canoe guide
  • 3 nights accommodation in tents
  • Use of all camping and canoe equipment
  • Road transfers from and to Kariba Town.
  • All meals, basic drinks (water, tea, coffee, cordials & imported wine with dinner).

What's not included

  • All national park fees (contact Natureways or your agent)
  • Drinks not mentioned (soft drinks, beers, alcohol)
  • Any personal expenses

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
4 days / 3 nights
from --

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

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

Select your package:

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