This safari is geared more towards the canoeing enthusiast who is looking for an added element of excitement. This is the only trip of its kind in Zambia that takes one through the entire length of the floodplains of the Lower Zambezi to the remote Mupata Gorge before ending at the confluence of the Zambezi and Luangwa Rivers. On this safari clients can explore the numerous back channels of the Zambezi along with spectacular basalt rock formations of the Mupata Gorge as the river winds its way towards the Indian Ocean. As these trips involve more detailed organization, they only depart on a few selected dates every year or on request for group bookings.
This trip passes through both the entire Zambian Lower Zambezi National Park on the left and the full length of the Mana pools National Park on the right ending at the Luangwa / Zambezi confluence. Optional 5hr road transfer back to Lusaka or a 1hr chartered flight out may be arranged on request. The cost of the air charter is not included in the price of this safari while the road transfer is.
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.
Meet at Zambezi Breezes Lodge in Chirundu at approx. 1000hrs for a 2 hour road transfer down stream to the launch site. After a briefing and lunch on the banks of the river we start our afternoon canoeing Mtondo Island for our first night camp, arriving at around 1700hrs. Canoeing on this day is kept to mainstream and is easy going with a strong current. We then set camp followed by tea/coffee, snacks and later dinner before retiring for the night.
Canoeing starts early after morning tea/coffee and biscuits, approx. 0630hrs Depart Mtondo Island for downstream breakfast stop at approx. After 2hrs canoeing. Continue through into the Lower Zambezi National Park for lunch between 1230hrs to 1400hrs out of the midday sun. We then canoe through to our 2nd nights camp on or around Chikwenya island weather permitting. This day we cover a good 25km of river through both Manna Pools and the Lower Zambezi National Park.
On this day we canoe through off shoot river channels where birdlife and game abounds. Guides will stop at points of interest to observe wildlife from time to time. Some parts of the river at this point exceed 3km 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 we set camp at G. Camp channels in a densely populated game area.
Today we exit Mana Pools 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. Fromnthis point the safari is confined to the main stream for approx. 30km as we 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 mid-day the canoes exit the gorge and the guide proceeds through to Red cliffs for lunch and a break from the mid-day heat before continuing on to the nights Island camp site. However depending on connecting flights the following day following day the guide may consult with the team as to a more suitable camping site closer to the end point. However we do 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 camp site there is an early rise tea/coffee breakfast before the remaining paddle through to the end of the canoeing safari. The take out point is reached at approximately 09:00hrs 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, clients may continue to paddle on Day 5 through to the Feira take out point. This means the transfer will be able to leave earlier for the return 5 hour trip to Lusaka, but it means there will be no canoeing on the last day. Lunch is had on the way back on the road side under a tree.
Three meals a day, cordial soft drinks and safe, treated water is supplied on every safari. However 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. Daily meal plan: Unless notified, meals will follow the program below. Please note that we require prior warning of at least 2 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. Early mornings: start with tea/coffee biscuits before setting off downstream after packing up canoes and clearing camp. Breakfast: 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, sausages etc; then toast with marmalade or jam. Tea and coffee is served before starting off again. Lunch: 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. Dinner: 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. 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 off-loading of their canoes.