A wonderful counterpoint to regular game drives – it's hard to beat drifting peacefully in a 'mokoro' along the reed-fringed channels of the beautiful Okavango Delta or paddling a canoe along a stretch of the magical Zambezi.
Water-based game viewing offers some of the most rewarding African safari experiences. Tracking and observing animals from a small boat or a canoe provide unique perspectives and floating on Africa's rivers and lakes can be one of the most tranquil experiences imaginable.
Glide across the pristine waterways of the OkavangoBotswana's Okavango Delta is one of the best places to head for if it's time on the water that you are after, whether fishing on an outboard-powered boat, paddling a canoe, or being poled by your guide in a mokoro (the local dug-out canoe which nowadays is actually made of fibreglass to preserve the trees), the activities on water and the wildlife spotted as you navigate the waterways offer a special and unique perspective from which you can enjoy nature.
Canoe the mighty ZambeziFor the more adventurous, it is possible to organise three- or four-night expeditions where you will paddle your own canoe, encountering wildlife along the way, sleep in simple tents in an impromptu fly camp on the banks of the river, and even experience the thrill of walking in the bush. Canoe safaris are best along the Zambezi in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe or Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. Canoeing can also be arranged on Zimbabwe's Lake Kariba or along the Selinda Spillway adjacent to the Okavango Delta.
Zambia's magnificent Luangwa RiverAnother excellent destination for those who enjoy exploring on waterways is South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Each year during the summer months, the Luangwa River floods and by mid-January becomes navigable, which is when the valley is perhaps at its most dramatic and beautiful. The bush is lush and verdant, rivers and lagoons are brimming and boating safaris take you eye to eye with hippos and crocodiles. Magnificent skyscapes and sunsets, a wealth of migratory birds, crystal clear night skies and occasional dramatic tropical downpours provide the backdrop for a safari during the most exciting time to be in the South Luangwa Valley.
Africa's wildlife rich rivers and lakesWater activities can also be enjoyed at many other destinations – including along the remote Kunene River in northern Namibia, the mighty Zambezi River from Victoria Falls and further downstream, the Rufiji and Sand rivers in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, and along Africa's iconic Rift Valley lakes in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi.
Water is the source of life in Africa and most of the continent's great wilderness areas are sustained by a river or a great body of water, offering plenty of water safari opportunities.
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.