There are several options in getting to the start of your Lower Zambezi canoeing safari:
- Self drive to Gwabi lodge 15km from Chirundu
- Public transport to Chirundu or Gwabi lodge
- Pre arranged private Mini bus transfers from Lusaka or Livingstone
- Air charter into the Zambezi Valley followed by a boat transfer to the start point
Using public transport we will meet you at the Chirundu BP fuel service station at 10.30am Gwabi Lodge by 11.00am on the day of departure. If by our private mini bus we will take you straight to the lodge for the start of your safari. Transfers from Victoria Falls need to be done the day before the safaris departure whilst those from Lusaka come down on the day of the safari’s departure. If by air, suggest landing at Kayila or one of the scheduled flights into Royal airstrip (Ex pro-flight, Airwaves) to catch a boat transfer to Gwabi Lodge for 11am meeting.
Road Transfer Times:
- Lusaka – Zambezi Valley (145km. approx 1 hr 45 min)
- Livingstone – Zambezi Valley (496km. approx 6 hr 45 min)
Aircraft And Boat Transfer Times: Lusaka – Zambezi Valley air 30min, boat transfer 1 hr 20 min (approx. 2 hr total)
Guests may be dropped off at Royal Airstrip by 10am for connecting flights out at the end of their safari or transferred back to Gwabi Lodge by road to meet connecting road transfers. Boat transfers may be arranged back to Gwabi (1 hour) should the clients want to connect with an earlier transfer road transfer.
Equipment Supplied: We use two man 18-foot Canadian Canoes with containment nets and ropes to ensure both safari and personal belongings are secure at all times.
Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers, while the bucket seats are cushioned allowing a reasonable level of back support. Single blade paddles are used and life jackets supplied.
Two-man mosquito netted bow tents are used, which allows for a full view of the night sky and maximum aeration. Sleeping bags, liners (sleeping bags inners/personal sheets) and airline pillows are also provided along with roll out mattresses.
Other equipment includes: cooler boxes, tables, chairs, gas cookers, melamine crockery, cutlery and a variety of other items are provided, to ensure a reasonable level of comfort is maintained for the duration of your canoeing safari.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are used as support vehicles for transfers and game drives where included. Boat transfers may also be used depending on the weather and time of year.
Food and Drinks:
- All meals, cordials and treated municipal water are supplied in containers.
- Complimentary local wine is provided with evening dinner.
- Clients may purchase additional beverages prior to the start of the safari. Cooler boxes and ice are provided for this.
Experience and Fitness: No previous canoeing experience is necessary. The Island canoeing safari is generally relaxing and little physical exertion is required. However, at certain times of the year strong winds may occur which makes paddling more difficult at times - should this occur the guide will decide whether it is feasible to carry on canoeing or to stop for a while to wait for the wind to die down.
Daily Meal Plan - Start: Typically then, we are up early (6.00/06:30) for tea/coffee along with biscuits before we set off downstream at usually around 7.30am.
Breakfast: Breakfast stop at approx (08:00/09:00) on the banks of the Zambezi River for an English breakfast comprising of tinned fruit; eggs; bacon; sausages; toast and jam. Tea/coffee is then served before starting off again.
Lunch: An assortment of cold meats, green salads, rolls, cheeses along with a variety of sauces and pickled vegetables to complete the meal.
Dinner: Snacks followed by a full dinner consisting of either beef or chicken dish with two green vegetables and a carbohydrate.
Please note: Should there be any dietary preferences, we can cater in most cases but we must be given sufficient time to organise this.
Tour Itinerary: As the Zambezi Valley can get hot in the summer months, we start early to make the most of the cool part of the day. The same applies for the late afternoons, while shade is sought during the hottest time of the day.
Day 1: Meet 10:30 Chirundu or 11:00 Gwabi. Guide briefing followed by light lunch, canoeing orientation. Canoe through to evening camp, effectively a half-day canoeing. Canoe approx 14 km to evening camp spot and prepare camp. Overnight Kakomalala.
Day 2: Full day canoeing, approx 25km. Canoeing starts early after morning tea/Coffee and biscuits approx 06:30/07:00. Depart Island camp for downstream breakfast stop approx 8.30am. Continue though to shaded lunch stop from approx 12:30 – 14:30 out of mid day sun. Proceed to mainland fly camp for overnight island camp. Overnight Mtondo Island.
Day 3: Full day canoeing, approx 26km. Daily routine as Day 2. Overnight at Nyamangwe/Fisherman’s Island.
Day 4: Early morning canoeing to take out point at Chiawa Community Camp - approx 5km downstream.
- Road to Gwabi 3hrs
- Optional: Drop off Royal airstrip 30 min road transfer
- Optional: Boat transfer to Gwabi 1hr 20min.
Personal Requirements: Clients are asked to keep their luggage down to a maximum of +/-7kg. Excess baggage and valuables can be kept safely at our office and collected on your return. Appropriate shirts, shorts, trousers etc in bush colours (preferably khaki, greens, greys or browns). Long sleeve cotton shirt suggested for fair skinned people including a light cloth to cover bare legs in summer months.
- Water Bottle
- Comfortable shoes (preferably worn in) they will get wet.
- Warm clothing for winter mornings and evenings being June, July and August
- Anti Malarial Prophylactics
- Wide Brim Sun Hat
- Sun Block
- Insect Repellent
- Personal Toiletries
- Spare Batteries
- Valid travel and health documents
Health: Any health concerns or medical conditions such as allergies, epilepsy etc should be brought to the attention of the management prior to the start of the safari. Medical advice on Malaria prophylactics should be sought prior to arrival.
Age Restriction: Minimum age is 15 years. There is no maximum age; however clients must be reasonably fit. The age limit may be flexible for a specific group booking with prior consent.
Safety: All canoe safari guides carry HF hand held radios. Each camp has an HF and VHF base set which allows communication between base camps, vehicles, canoes and Medial Air Rescue Services. Each professional canoe guide has passed stringent National Parks canoeing exams prior to leading a canoeing safari.
Insurance: All clients are covered by Medical Air Rescue Service (MARS) through Zambezi River Adventures; however this only covers them for emergency evacuation in life threatening situations. It does not cover their hospitalization and medication. As such travel and medical insurance is compulsory for all clients. Please ensure clients have arranged this insurance in their own country prior to leaving so as to cover unexpected medical expenses and loss / theft of personal effects. Please ensure clients bring the details of their insurance policy with them. Clients will not be covered should they not have insurance.
Visas: Please check visa requirements with your agent or Zambezi River Adventures. All our safaris take place in Zambia. It is advisable for all clients to check with the Zambian authorities whether or not they need visas for Zambia, and if necessary obtain their visas prior to departure.
For clients who are arriving in Zambia and spending their first night with us, we are able to apply for a Visa Waiver for most nationalities. The Visa Waiver is not guaranteed; we require full passport details three weeks prior to travel to apply for the Visa Waiver. In case the Visa Waiver is not granted clients are requested to make sure they have the correct US Dollar amount of the visa entry fee. We will not be held responsible for visa fees.
Season: Year round – however, for those chartering in, please discuss this with the Zambezi River Adventures prior to your arrival, as some airstrips may be closed due to the rains from November to April. Boat transfers will be used during the rains, should wet conditions necessitate. Temperatures are at their highest in September and October with the rains running through from November to April where light weight, water proof clothing is required. Winter months run through from May to July where warm clothing is necessary in the evenings.
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