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Canoeing safari & camping along the
fertile floodplains of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools
National Park. - 4 Days)
of the most exciting ways to experience Africa, this safari
is perfect for adventurous travelers, allowing guests the
closest possible encounters with wildlife on one of the
greatest rivers in Africa. This thrilling experience
traverses the Mana Pools National Park, through the heart of
Mana Pools and along the Zambezi's shoreline, canoeing past
more than a thousand hippo on the way! Each night is spent
camping on the banks of the Zambezi River, finishing 65km
downstream and many adventures away from the start.
Encounters with animals, whether on canoe or on foot, are up
close and awe-inspiring. The Trail is for reasonably fit
guests and is led by an experienced guide. Support vehicles
and staff assist guests and set up camp each day prior to
This serviced camping safari offers a unique adventure
for the traveller seeking an iconic African safari and an
opportunity to enjoy one of the wildest stretches of the
lower Zambezi River and the game that depends on its life
giving waters during the dry season in a way that limits
carbon emissions and ensures a back to nature experience.
Remote campsites on this itinerary provide specially
tents, designed for comfort in remote wilderness areas.
Cotton linen and bedrolls (with duvets) with a lantern
complement the atmosphere in this pristine and wild area.
Separate short-drop toilet and shower ‘bathrooms’ with
old-style bucket showers create simple serviced comfort. By
means of lively campfires, hurricane lanterns and a warm
atmosphere permeating the camp (and its simplicity),
Adventurer camping brings the guest closer to nature. Such
camps are specifically outfitted to create that sense of
wilderness with a clear emphasis on essential camp comforts
and maximum wilderness experience. The fact that guests are
self-propelled by means of canoe and foot on this safari
results in far lower carbon emissions than a vehicle based
Exploration and also allows a more immediate reconnection
The entire safari is guided and hosted by two
professional and passionate river guide, who shares in-depth
knowledge of the lower Zambezi ecosystem with the guests, to
present a seamless, well-rounded experience.
Each campsite within the Mana Pools National Park is
reserved for the exclusive use of our guests and while on
the river or on foot on its banks we enjoy the wild expanse
mostly to ourselves. An Over-night at Ruckomechi camp either
before or after the three night canoe trail we will most
likely meet other independent travellers. Each night is
spent camping on the banks of the Zambezi River moving
further down stream. The attraction and fun of this safari
is that guests have the opportunity to experience wildlife
away from vehicles in canoes and on foot, at exceptionally
close quarters under the direction of an experienced guide.
These encounters are truly awe-inspiring. The canoes we use
are sturdy Canadian canoes and are paddled by the guests.
However, please be advised that this is a journey for the
adventurous and not for the faint hearted as animal
encounters are very close.
This safari is one of the most exciting safaris anywhere
in Africa. Guests on this safari travel downstream from one
end of Mana Pools to the other from West to the East - from
Ruckomechi to Chikwenya. At all times the participants are
within the national park traveling through superb
countryside. The scenery is spectacular as the mountains of
the northern escarpment of Africa's Great Rift Valley form
the backdrop as we canoe from one camp to the next. Support
vehicles and staff assist guests and move the camp each day.
This safari is perfect for adventurous travelers, allowing
guests the closest possible encounters with wildlife on one
of the greatest rivers in Africa.
is usually a gentle wind coming into the noses of the canoes
from the East and this helps to keep the temperatures down.
However the wind does make it critical that people who book
onto the Mana Canoe Trail are reasonably agile. We are not
expecting anyone to be a tri-athlete, but a reasonable level
of agility is required. Do not book onto this safari if you
cannot swim! We cannot take anyone over 70 years old. People
between 65 and 70 need to have a medical certificate proving
that they are able. If you do not fit into these parameters,
but still want to do some canoeing in the Mana Pools area,
we recommend you book into either Ruckomechi or Chikwenya
Camps where half-day canoeing excursions are offered.
We will travel down past many pods of hippo. There are
approximately 1,200 hippos along this stretch of the
Zambezi. Crocodiles bask on the banks of the Zambezi. If you
are lucky, you will encounter lots of game on the islands in
the middle of the Zambezi as well as along its banks. Your
guide will take you on walks into the park where you will
have the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating
ecology of the area and you will be able to track game on
foot. This is not a safari for the faint-hearted, but is
best suited for those who are looking for the opportunity to
get close to what Africa is all about, far from the
constraints of a vehicle.
Day 1: Start of the Trail, close to Ruckomechi, Zambezi
Guests are transferred to Ruckomechi by air, arriving at
around midday. At approximately 2 pm, after meeting the
guide and going through a thorough safety briefing,
canoeists start paddling downstream in sturdy Canadian
canoes to our mobile camp in the Mana Pools National Park.
The camp will have already been set up in advance and the
first afternoon of paddling covers about 10 to 11
kilometers. This is a relatively easy distance to cover in
the time available and gives canoeists a chance to
familiarize themselves with the canoes and the various
paddle strokes required.
2 & 3: Zambezi River wild camping
Typically, canoeists are awakened before dawn with
tea/coffee and biscuits and we try to get onto the water
just before sunrise. This is a magical time on the river as
the water is usually calm and the peace and tranquility is
After paddling for usually about 2 hours, we beach the
canoes on the bank of the Zambezi River and set out for a
game walk. The guide chooses a suitable area, based on his
knowledge of the area and game movements and we take a few
hours to explore on foot, and unravel some of the
intricacies of the bush. After returning to the canoes, and
a light snack, we continue canoeing to a suitable lunch
spot, arriving around mid-day. Lunch is carried in the
canoes and is usually consists of a salad and cold meats. We
normally rest up in the shade for a while or take another
short walk before moving on arriving at the next camp at
dusk. The camp, and all the luggage, will have been moved by
the camp staff and all that is required to be done by
participants is to enjoy a hot shower under the stars, and a
cold drink, followed by dinner. The daily distances covered
from one camp to the next are around 20 to 25 kilometers and
the daily routine will vary according to wildlife movement.
Day 4: Transfer to Chikwenya Airstrip, end of services
After breakfast by the river, guests will either be
transferred by Land Rover or a walk to the nearby Chikwenya
airstrip for the flight out or can take a drive back
Ruckomechi Camp for an additional night or nights stay if
they wish to spend more time in the wonderful Zambezi
Accommodation and Camping Equipment
This is a true camping safari. However, we are able to
support the canoe trail with a vehicle and staff who do all
the camping chores and who make your camping as comfortable
as possible. We have a guide who travels with you all day
and he is supported by a back-up team of three who travel
ahead by vehicle to the next site. We have one cook and two
camp hands. All camps are set up prior to the safari's
arrival in camp. Guests sleep in large tents in which one
can stand. Comfortable camp beds, linen, blankets, pillows
and towels are provided. The campsites have no permanent
ablution blocks, so a bucket shower and 'long drop' toilet
are set up by our staff.
Chairs and tables are provided for comfortable dining.
Ice for drinks is available, and complimentary Zimbabwean
wine is served with the evening meal. Cordials are supplied
free of charge. A selection of soft drinks and local beers
is available on a complimentary basis throughout the trail.
Bottled water is always available free of charge. If you
wish to bring your own wine of choice, we recommend that you
do so. Zimbabwe's finest wines don't win many awards!
The Mana Canoe & Walking Trail includes the following
activities: a) Canoeing - naturally. Comfortable and stable
Canadian canoes are provided and have two guests per canoe.
b) Walking with an armed guide. You'll look for game, birds
and anything of interest. c) Fishing for tiger fish and
bream is permitted within the National Park. However, guests
are requested to bring their own rods and tackle.
One of the highlights of this safari is the walking and
game tracking that guests will be able to do in Mana Pools
National Park. Walking can, however, lead to encounters with
wild animals which are potentially dangerous. Walking is,
therefore, at your own risk. Please note, however, that
walking at all times will be in the company of an armed,
Once you are on the trail, you are out of contact with
the world. In case of emergency, The Mana Canoe & Walking
Trail is in contact by VHF radio with Ruckomechi Main Camp
and Chikwenya, who in turn are in communication with Kariba
and Harare by HF radio. All guides will be able to
communicate directly with Kariba by radio from the canoes in
case of emergency only.
Food and Water
All food is prepared in camp, and a typical day's meals
would be: Breakfast: A full hot English breakfast is served
daily, unless we leave very early to start paddling. Lunch:
A buffet selection of cold dishes, quiches, homemade rolls,
cheese and biscuits and fresh salads are served. Dinner:
Dinner usually begins with a starter (appetizer), followed
by a wholesome freshly cooked main course with fresh
vegetables. Desserts, cheese and biscuits and tea and coffee
are offered after dinner. Vegetarian or other dietary
preferences can be catered for providing we are warned in
Bottled water is available at all times. Beers, soft
drinks, wine, fruit juices and mineral water will be
available on the safari. Should you have any specific
preferences regarding your favorite drinks other than the
above, please let us know well in advance or feel free to
bring your own. There will be an additional charge for
imported spirits. Again, we prefer it if you bring your own
favorite spirits. We don't charge a corkage fee for your own
drinks. Local wine, soft drinks, fruit juice, local beer,
and bottled mineral water are included in the cost of the
The Mana Canoe & Walking Trail is equipped with
comprehensive first aid packs and guides hold advanced
medical aid certificates.
Guests may choose to combine additional nights at
Ruckomechi Camp prior to Day 1 and/or at Chikwenya Camp at
safari's end on Day 4.
Rates From: $1,450 per person
sharing (Depending on season) - Please contact us for a
quote and itinerary