Learn About Amazing Canoeing Safaris


A canoe safari will provide you with a fresh perspective on the wildlife that lives along the river. For a one-of-a-kind experience that combines the calming pace of the river with an adventurous spirit, trade in your four-wheel drive vehicle for a canoe instead. 

When compared to traveling by vehicle, horseback, or on foot, going on a canoe safari is an exciting and invigorating alternative that enables you to fully appreciate the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you.

It is incredibly simple to get up close and personal with animals like hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants, and water birds when paddling up to them in a canoe rather than approaching them in a loud vehicle. All of these species feel less threatened when a canoe paddles up to them rather than a vehicle. When you have an experienced specialist guide by your side, you will quickly conclude that these opportunities to interact with wildlife are unparalleled, as they give you the chance to truly appreciate and comprehend the wild in all of its splendor.

What is Canoeing Safari?

Canoe safaris are low-tech and non-motorized activities. When compared to game drives or boating safaris, both of these activities offer participants a level of connection with (and exposure to) the natural environment that is significantly more intensely felt. Canoe Safaris provide visitors with the opportunity to observe wild animals along the river from a new vantage point, making them an ideal type of tourist activity.  Your spirit of exploration will be nourished by the river’s laid-back pace while you paddle along in a canoe, which will help you get the most out of the experience.

Canoe safaris are only offered by a select few of the camps that are situated in areas that are suitable for the activity, and the guides who lead these trips are required to have a high level of training and experience. Canoe safaris always proceed downstream with the current and do not require significantly higher levels of physical fitness than the average person to participate. Participants on a canoe safari should be prepared to see hippos and crocodiles, and they will almost certainly have interactions with elephants as they come to the water to drink. Crocodiles and hippos are also likely to be seen. Canoeing is not an activity that is recommended for those who are easily scared, but it has the potential to be one of the most unforgettable experiences during a safari.

Why Choose Canoe Safari?

A canoe safari is a very alluring activity to participate in because of the many different attractions it offers. The first benefit is that it caters to people who would rather have a private experience by allowing them to have complete privacy while touring the unspoiled areas.

Canoe safaris allow visitors to experience the majesty of their surroundings while remaining completely silent. There will be no distracting noise pollution or air pollution caused by emissions when guests come here, so they will be able to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the setting.

Canoe safaris make it simple to get up close and personal with the local fauna. When these animals observe the boats, they perceive the human form to be an integral part of the boats’ contours. During your travels, you might come face to face with a variety of wild animals, such as elephants and buffaloes, at a very close range, which will provide you with an exceptionally one-of-a-kind experience.  In addition to the enjoyment of your tour, canoeing also provides you with the opportunity to get some exercise.

Types of Canoe Safaris

Before making a reservation, tourists who are interested in participating in a canoe safari ought to investigate the various kinds of canoeing that are offered, so that they can coordinate their spending with the excursion and take into account the amenities that are offered.

1. Full participation in a canoe safari

Canoeists will have the opportunity to enjoy an overnight camping experience on either an island or the mainland, at a location that is close to the river, when participating in a full participation canoe safari, which is one of the types. Canoeists will typically prepare all of their equipment and provisions, pack them away in their canoes, and then carry their canoes with them everywhere they go. Everyone who goes canoeing should be prepared to take part in the day-to-day operations of the base camp, including activities such as getting water, cleaning, and tending to the campfire. During this experience, the guide will be responsible for preparing all of the meals. There will be either small bow tents or mosquito nets draped over paddles that can be used for sleeping quarters. Because they are adaptable and allow the traveler to have a lot of fun while maximizing the potential for excitement, full-participation canoe safaris offer the best value for their participants while also being the least expensive option available.

2. Backed-up trip

The backed-up trip is another kind of canoe safari that you can go on. When compared to the Full participation option, these provide a higher level of comfort. As you move further and further down the river, a crew will be there to assist you. Large, moveable tented camps will serve as your lodging during the overnight stops along the way. These camps will shelter you.

When they are not on the river, visitors have the option of walking or using vehicles to get around. At any time, there will be trained professionals available to explain the nature of the animals you observe and help you get the most out of your experience. You will be pleased with the meals that are provided for you because they are of high quality, comparable to what you would anticipate receiving from the long-term lodging facilities.

3. Half-day or full-day adventures

Now, these are typically considered separate activities within the context of a longer safari itinerary that also includes game viewing and other types of safari activities. The vacationers will be driven to the location of the canoeing excursion, and after completing their experience, they will be driven back to their accommodations and allowed to continue with their safari plans. Some tourists are only interested in experiencing something for a single day or going on a safari for the afternoon. There are permanent camps that are outfitted with canoe trails, and these trails are what allow for the short canoe experience that is provided.

Canoeing Safari Destination

1. Mana Pools Canoeing in Zimbabwe

Travelers who are interested in experiencing new things will find the Mana pools in Zimbabwe to be an exciting destination. On the Zambezi River, which is one of the largest rivers in Africa, visitors can get up close and personal with a variety of animals on one of the many tours that are offered in this destination.

This canoeing adventure extends beyond the boundaries of Mana Pools National Park, paddling through the heart of Mana Pools and along the Zambezi riverbank, where tourists can get a good look at the uncountable number of hippos that congregate along the riverbank. Every day comes to a close when we retire to our tents in the camps, which are situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, where we can enjoy listening to the sounds of Africa.

The guests should make sure that they are physically fit and that they are being guided by an experienced guide because all of their encounters with animals, whether on foot or by canoe, will be up close and will always be awe-inspiring. This means that the guests should ensure that they are being guided by an experienced guide.

Visitors have the opportunity to participate in a safari in the traditional explorer style. This adventure will take place over the course of approximately four days. After transporting everything in the canoes, you will also help set up your dwelling, which consists of a mosquito net draped over a tent designed for a single individual. You will also take part in other activities, such as cooking and other things. This adventure includes a trained guide who will assist with tasks such as dishwashing, cooking, and other activities that take place in camp. You will have a designated guide with you at all times to assist you in safely navigating the Zambezi River. It is imperative that you are aware right off the bat that this expedition will not include any time spent walking around the islands.

There is also the possibility of going on a Luxury Canoe Safari, which features several benefits, the most notable of which is first-rate service. During that time, every activity revolves entirely around the participants (the guests). During meals, there are full waiter services available to attend to the needs of guests. The meals are prepared by seasoned chefs, and waiters are responsible for serving guests. They are always cooked over open campfires, so you know they are fresh. During the night, guests have access to roomy walk-in tents that come equipped with their very own private bathroom and toilet facilities. There are warm showers that are open to the air, as well as beds that are adorned with clean linen. 

2. Luxury Tsika Canoe Trail on Lower Zambezi NP, Zambia

The canoe safari down the Zambezi River is the primary means by which guests at Luxury Tsika Canoe Trails get to see the stunning array of wildlife that inhabits the area. The Lower Zambezi National Park is home to several lodges that are among the finest in the world. Any visitor who selects the option of going on a canoe safari while they’re here will be able to stay at the Sausage Tree Camp in Chongwe as well as the Tsila Island Camp during their trip. The Tsika Island Camp is a rustic and fashionable bush camp that can be found just 35 kilometers upstream from the Chongwe camp. It is located on a beautiful island that is right in the middle of the Zambezi River.

Canoeing down the Zambezi River while taking in the sights and sounds of the African bush is the ideal way to get a taste of this exciting continent. It is the most effective method for observing wildlife, be it on land or in the water. The lower will have a variety of lodges and camps that will provide for a comfortable night’s stay. The qualified guides are the cherry on top of an already unforgettable experience on this safari.

3. Okavango Delta – Ker & Downey in Botswana

In the southwestern part of the Okavango Delta is where you will find Ker & Downey. Safaris in this area can be enjoyed by visitors while riding in a traditional Mokoro. In addition to that, they provide a unique program known as “Steps Across Africa.” This program offers an exclusive and private camping experience for a group of no more than six people at a time. Guests who sign up for this experience will have the opportunity to go on guided walks through the Delta. The canoeing adventure through the Okavango Delta covers approximately seventy kilometers of the waterway. This section of the Selinda Spillway leads directly into the heart of the Selinda Reserve and continues to the next section.

Canoeists will head in an easterly direction along the spillway during their time at Ker & Downey, to observe the various bird species and other forms of wildlife that are located along the riverbanks. The park is home to approximately three hundred different species of birds, as well as roan antelopes, sable antelopes, buffaloes, elephants, and wild dogs. Visitors can also expect to see wild dogs. The atmosphere here is one of seclusion and seclusion from the outside world. Canoeists will have a comfortable time paddling in the canoes designed in the Canadian style, which feature padded seats. The fly camps feature dome tents that will serve as sleeping quarters for the expedition. These come complete with squat toilets and showers in buckets that are heated to a comfortable temperature. These fly camps will serve as accommodations for the guests while they are here. In addition, guests should be on the lookout for members of the feline family, such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards.

Please take into consideration that visitors are strongly urged to spend at least one night in either the Zarafa or the Selinda camps. They have a reason to look forward to the experience, especially after finishing the Trail.

4. Canoeing in Uganda

In addition to taking in the peace and splendor of Uganda’s waterways, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the country’s abundant wildlife. Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa and the source of the River Nile, the longest river in the world, is one of the rivers, wetlands, and lakes that cover 18 percent of the total land mass of Uganda. The Nile River is the longest in the world.

The shores of Lake Victoria, the Ssese Islands, Katonga Reserve, Mabamba Swamp, Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, Lake Bunyonyi, and Lake Mutanda are some of the best places to go canoeing in Uganda. Other great spots include Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda.

The months of March through May and October through December are the wettest in Uganda, making these months ideal for canoeing. The brief rains begin in the months of November and December, while the dry season begins in late December and continues through the months of February and then June through the month of August.

5. Canoeing in South Africa

Canoeing gives visitors to South Africa the opportunity to relax and take in the region’s stunning natural scenery while also providing a fun activity. Many people don’t give this activity much thought, but it offers a huge variety of different variations, all of which are geared toward maintaining your health while allowing you to breathe in the unadulterated, unpolluted fresh air. This activity can be enjoyed throughout the country thanks to the abundance of rivers, dams, lakes, and the Indian Ocean all of which are available. Several waterways, such as the River Pongola, river Umkomaas, river Buffalo, Umzimkulu, Thukela, Umgeni, and Mooi rivers, flow from the Drakensberg Mountains, through the Zulu lands, and into the ocean. All of these offer vacationers interested in canoeing experiences that range from moderately challenging to extremely difficult.

If you go exploring Maputa land’s lakes, the Kosi system, Lake St. Lucia, and Lake Sibaya, you won’t be disappointed. You will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals, including crocodiles and hippos, giving you the chance to take in some truly unforgettable sights.

Tips for Canoe Safaris

  • If you are not going on a safari that includes both walking and canoeing as part of the itinerary, staying in a hotel or lodge the night before and the night after the trip might be a good idea. If you miss your canoe departure due to a delayed flight or missed connection, the thought of taking a hot shower and sleeping in your bed will probably be one of the first things that cross your mind as you make your way back.
  • Bring shirts with long sleeves and a towel with you to the river so that you can protect your arms and legs from the sun, which can be very intense when it is reflected off the water.
  • To further protect yourself from heat stroke, you should wear sunglasses and a safari hat that provides adequate coverage. Sunscreen is another item that cannot be overlooked!
  • It is important to keep in mind that the temperature will fall throughout the evening; therefore, it is recommended that you bring at least one jacket or fleece that is relatively warm.
  • Bring a pair of walking shoes for use around camp and on any hikes, as well as a separate pair of rafting sandals for when you’re on the water.
  • When you are onshore at the makeshift camp during a full-participation canoe safari, it is helpful to have a flashlight with spare batteries and to have the flashlight with you.
  • Just in case, you should put any valuables, like a camera, in bags that can withstand water.
  • Angling enthusiasts are typically allowed to bring their tackle and equipment with them to the rivers for a spot of fishing.
  • Canoeists would be well-served to protect themselves from the rain with a lightweight poncho.
  • When going on a trip that requires full participation, you should avoid overpacking and keep your luggage to less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds), as you will be transporting everything in the canoes with you.

Best Time for Canoeing

Even though late in the dry season temperatures can soar, the best time to view the game is typically during the dry months. However, because of the high temperatures, you should make sure to bring additional sun protection with you when you go out on the water. Canoe safaris are best during the rainy season because the river is at its calmest during this time of year and the storms that do occur are typically brief and followed by clear skies. The inclement weather shouldn’t be a problem as long as you bring a raincoat for the boat and don’t forget to bring a dry change of clothes for camp.

What will you see on a canoe safari ride?

When compared to driving a car or hiking, using a canoe on a safari always results in a unique perspective and adventure experience. It is incredible, but while traveling along the path of the great rivers, you will see a lot of things, in particular the large number of animals that are parched and congregate on the riverbanks to satiate their thirst. In addition, the likelihood of having a close encounter with elephants, hippos, and buffalo is quite high, and if you’re lucky, you might also see lions and leopards lazing about in the shade on the riverbanks. Because you are moving along with the current of the water, the most significant disadvantage is that you may be unable to stop for an extended period or immediately make a U-turn.

There is a thriving bird population due to the natural environment, and there are clear, pleasant views with increased opportunities to photograph colorful water birds, bee-eaters, and kingfishers.


During a canoe safari, you will be paddling through the water and allowing the mighty canoe to carry you toward incredible sights, up-close birding, and unparalleled adventures. In the distance, you can make out bobbing hippos and crocodiles sleeping, and along the riverbank, there are herds of elephants moving along.  Because of this, canoe safaris will never fail to live up to your expectations.