This popular canoeing safari is spent on selected islands along the Lower Zambezi River. Enjoy this canoeing trip as you make your way through the flood plains of the Mana pools region. This is a unique river experience that encompasses much of what the best of the Zambezi River has to offer. Enjoy the starry night when you make camp at Kakomalala Island, Magurumeno or Mtondo Islands, and Elephant or Nyamangwe Islands as you rest for the night!
During this safari tour, you will be staying at a campsite on Kakomalala Island, Magurumeno or Mtondo Islands, and Elephant or Nyamangwe Islands.
Geographically, the section of Zambezi River between Kariba and the lowest takeout point, is also known as the Middle Zambezi. In particular, the section of river in the Mana Pools region has the highest recorded number of game and bird life on the entire Zambezi on both sides of the river.
No previous canoeing experience is necessary although it is recommended 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.
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. Four-wheel drive vehicles are generally used as support vehicles for the return transfers while boats and aircraft may be useful options when required.
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 trip leaders. Waterproof Pelican cases are carried as first aid boxes with the basic essentials.
Unless otherwise arranged, the trip will depart from Zambezi Breezers or Chirundu at 10:30 a.m. in the morning of departure, after you have been briefed by your guide. After an hour of canoeing, there is a riverbank stop for lunch before paddling on to the first evening’s camp site on Kakomalala Island.
This is a total canoeing distance of approximately 15 kilometers, predominantly through channels with an average of three to four kilometers per hour river flow rate. Arrival at the island is around 5:00 p.m. and camp is then set up.
Today will be a full day of canoeing, approximately 25 kilometers. You will have tea or coffee with biscuits at approximately 6:30 a.m. before departing at 7:30 a.m. downstream. You will have breakfast at around 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in a shade out of midday sun. You will then proceed to Magurumeno or Mtondo Islands depending on distances covered and weather permitted conditions.
You will canoe the through lower Zambezi flood plain region. Today's daily routine will be much the same as day two although today you will canoe into the Mana section of the river. You will stay overnight at Elephant or Nyamangwe Islands pending on the progress made.
You will have breakfast on the island before a leisurely five to seven kilometers paddle to the take-out point where the support vehicles are met. Canoes and equipment are loaded onto the vehicle and trailer before departing for the return journey through a wildlife area and several rural villages and dwellings.
The estimated time arrival at Zambezi Breezers is 2:30 p.m., allowing adequate time to connect onto Lusaka while it is still daylight or alternatively to spend an additional night at Zambezi Breezers on the banks of the Zambezi. This option comes with additional cost.
This safari will take place from Chirundu to the Chongwe River, Zambia, where you will canoe through Lower Zambezi River and the Mana section of the river.
You will be served three meals a day, cordial soft drinks, and treated water are supplied on every safari. However, for those who wish to bring their own bottled water may do so. Cooler boxes are provided for you who wish to bring your own selection of beverages for the duration of the safari. Cordials and water are always available throughout the day.
Unless notified, meals will follow the program of the safari tour. Please note that prior warning of at least two weeks is needed to cater for special diets or allergies to certain ingredients and others. The main dinners are in most cases pre-cooked and deep frozen prior to the safari, so it is important to have sufficient notice of what is required.
The early morning will start with tea, coffee, and biscuits before setting off downstream after packing up the canoes and clearing up camp.
Generally, after several hours of canoeing, the trip will stop for everyone to stretch their legs while the guide prepares an English breakfast of tinned fruit, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and toast with marmalade or jam. Tea and coffee are served before starting off again.
An assortment of cold meats, green salads, rolls, and cheeses are served, along with a variety of sauces and pickled vegetables to complete the meal.
An assortments of snacks are served followed by a full dinner consisting of beef, chicken, or mutton as main course options with two green vegetables and a carbohydrate of potatoes, rice, or pasta.
Please book your flight to arrive at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN). Transfer from and to the airport is included. River Horse Safaris will pick you up from the airport and take a short 35 minutes road transfer to Royal Airstrip.
When you arrive at the takeout point, you can assist in loading the canoes and equipment onto the support vehicle and trailer for the return transfer to Zambezi Breezers or Chirundu. On the return journey, lunch will be served before crossing the Kafue River by barge, approximately 15 kilometers before the end of the road transfer.
Road transfers take approximately three and a half hours back to Zambezi Breezers and are included in the cost of the safari. Boat transfers take approximately one and a half hours, but come with an additional cost. You can schedule a charter to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) and take a short 35 minutes road transfer to Royal Airstrip.
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