Lower Zambezi : Short Canoe Trail
semi-participatory Canoe Trail on the Zambian Side of the Zambezi river
Itinerary for 3 day Canoe Trail|Map
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
Unless otherwise arranged, trips depart from the Chirundu launch site at Zambezi Breezes at 1030hrs on the morning of departure, after clients have been briefed by their guide. After an hour of canoeing there is a riverbank stop for lunch before paddling on to the first evening’s island camp site. This is a total canoeing distance of approximately 15km, mainly through the net work of channels visible on the above Google earth map. ETA at Kakomalala Island is around 1700 hrs and camp is then set up.
The full day of canoeing, approx 25km. Approx. 0630hrs tea/coffee and biscuits then depart
0730hrs downstream. Breakfast approx. 0830hrs – 0900hrs. Lunch approx 1230hrs – 1430hrs in shade out of mid day sun. Proceed to 2nd Island camp – Magurumeno Islands or beyond.
Canoeing is the same as Day 2 exiting the river by approx 1200hrs followed by lunch enroute.On the return road transfer a visit to a traditional village is made before crossing the Kafue river pontoon by barge before reaching the Zambezi Breezes Camp.
Three meals a day, with cordials 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 certain 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 down stream 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, fried tomatoes, toast with marmalade or jam; tea and coffee.
Lunch:An assortment of cold meats, green salads, rolls and cheeses are served, along with a variety of sauces and pickled onions or gherkins to complete the meal.
Dinner: Assortments of crisps or popcorn for 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.
Arriving at the takeout point, clients assist in loading the canoes and equipment onto the support vehicle and trailer for the return transfer to Zambezi Breezes/Chirundu. On the return journey lunch is had before crossing the Kafue River by barge approx 15km before the end of the road transfer.
Road transfers take approx two and a half hours back to Zambezi Breezes/Chirundu to the starting point of the trip.
Boat transfers take approx One hour back to Zambezi Breezes but at an additional cost when required.
Flights scheduled charters take approx 35 minutes to Lusaka after a short road transfer to Royal airstrip. Additional cost.
Experience & Fitness
No previous canoeing experience is necessary. This short island hopping canoe safari is generally relaxing with little physical exertion required. However, at certain times of the year strong winds may occur which makes paddling more difficult. Should this occur the guide will decide whether it is feasible to carry on canoeing or wait until it is safe to proceed. Guides have ultimate jurisdiction when determining the course of action required for the safety and welfare of the guests.
Fiber glass 18ft two man Canadian style Canoes are used for their robust structure, with single bladed paddles. Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers with fixed bucket seats allowing for a reasonable level of comfort. Each is fitted with containment nets to ensure safari and personal belongings are secure at all times.
Two-man industrial mosquito netted bow tents are used. These allow for a full view of the night sky and give maximum aeration. Sleeping bags, sheet liners and airline pillows are also provided along with fold out mattresses. Should guests wish to bring their own sleeping bags, this is also acceptable.
Other equipment includes: cooler boxes, tables, chairs, gas cookers, melamine crockery, along with a variety of other items to ensure a reasonable level of comfort is maintained for the duration of the safari.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are generally used as support vehicles for the return transfers. Depending on the weather and time of year boat transfers may be arranged.
As a guideline on what to bring on your safari, clients are asked to keep luggage to minimum of +/
– 7kgs. Excess baggage may be kept for safe keeping at our office for the duration of the canoeing
• Neutral coloured shorts and T-shirts, swimming costume for summer months.
• Personal Toiletries and small towel. Optional your personal pillow
• Canvas shoes or rafting sandals, a comfortable pair of hiking shoes where walks are involved
• Hat with a wide brim
• Jacket or sweater for the evenings
• Shirts (including a long sleeved one for sun protection)
• A kikoi (or sarong) to cover your legs to protect them from the sun
• Torch or flashlight and extra batteries
• Camera and accessories
• Binoculars, sunglasses
• Sunscreen, Insect repellent
• Warm clothes to sleep in for winter nights/light waterproof clothing for wet season
• Dry bags for personal items.
Luggage on Safari should be kept to a maximum of 7kgs p/person where possible. Excess luggage may be stored safely at our base for collection at the end of the safari.
• All guides are qualified through the governing bodies of both the Zambian & Zimbabwe wildlife and National Parks authorities qualifying them to lead canoeing and walking safaris having passed both practical and written exams.
• In addition, all guides have a minimum practical training period of two years with the company prior to becoming a trip leaders.
• H20 proof Pelican cases are carried as first aid boxes with the basic essentials.
• On the shorter canoeing trips we operate local cellular networks while satellite phones are used in the more remote regions of the lower Zambezi.
• All clients are briefed on the safety aspects of a canoeing safari prior to the trips departure while we always ensure everyone has time to familiarise themselves with their canoes and paddling techniques early on in the safari.
The Zambezi Valley is a malarial area, but your doctor can advise you on the appropriate prophylactics to protect you. 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.
We recommend the use of insect repellents especially from dusk onwards, together with wearing trousers and long sleeved tops.
The use of wide brimmed hats and plenty of sunscreen are strongly advised on all trips, both in summer and winter months. Long sleeved shirts and kikois/towels also protect arms and legs from sunburn during canoeing.
All safaris carry medical boxes and the guide is trained in first aid.
Individual Health Issues
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.
On these semi participatory safaris, there are no ablution facilities.
Clients are provided with a trowel, toilet paper and matches.
For bathing, clients use a bucket of water from the river.
The minimum age of clients is 15 years. There is however no maximum age, although the client must be reasonably fit. The age limit may be flexible for a specific group booking with prior consent.
Travel and medical insurance is compulsory for all clients. All clients must have pre arranged insurance in their own country prior to leaving so as to cover any unexpected medical expenses and loss / theft of personal effects. Clients bring the details of these insurance policies with them as they will need to provide proof of insurance should they wish to claim for any losses or medical expenses.
Please check visa requirements with your agent or River Horse Safaris prior to departure. Most visas can be obtained at the point of entry into Zambia.
Year round – however, for those chartering flights in, we suggest pre flight checks on runway conditions to ensure the strip is serviceable.
Temperatures are at their highest in September and October with the onset of the rains from December through to April where light weight, waterproof clothing is required. Winter runs from May to August where warm clothing is necessary in the evenings
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