Floating with giant beastsZambia

Close encounters of the thick-skinned kind are frequent on this 163-kilometre paddle down the mighty Zambezi. It’s not uncommon to manoeuvre around partially submerged hippos, glide past elephants bathing in the shallows or observe crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks during this six-day aquatic adventure with River Horse Safaris.

There’s no other tour that takes visitors into this part of Zambia, traversing the entire floodplains of the Lower Zambezi and journeying through isolated Mupata Gorge before ending where the Zambezi meets the Luangwa River. Each day, the camp is packed up before dawn, everyone climbs into twin canoes and the journey begins before the heat kicks in. Wildlife abounds here, where humans are few and the landscape is vivid and unexpected. Vast walls of volcanic rock rise from the water in the Great Rift Valley, and estuaries running off the main river feel as though they’re completely unexplored.

At night, tents are set up on the sandy banks of the river and everyone helps out by preparing dinner or cleaning up. There’s also the chance to go on game drives and walks, looking out for animals that make their home further away from the river’s edge. With a maximum of 12 guests on any given adventure, this is an intimate way to observe the vast African wilderness.

The five-night Great Zambezi Canoe Safari starts at about US$1,000 per person, including canoeing and camping equipment, meals and soft drinks, and an overland transfer back to Lusaka at the end of the tour.

You’ll test your canoeing endurance and outdoor skills during this extended paddling adventure.

River Horse Safaris

Ready to go?

Tags: animal encounter, elephants, into the wild, safari

Get Inspired In Print

While you're here


As the first luxury safari cruise ship in Africa, the Zambezi Queen sets the...

As the first luxury safari cruise ship in Africa, the Zambezi Queen sets the standard...