Stealth Safaris

By Canoe

Oct 15, 2001
Outside Magazine

Feather your paddles, sit tight, and slip past the elephants drinking at water's edge. Watch out for cruising crocodiles and the occasional loony hippo launching a high dive into the river from a steep bank while displaying a lethal set of choppers. All part of another leisurely day canoeing an idyllic stretch of the Lower Zambezi River, from Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe to Kanyemba on the Mozambique border.

Here in one of the richest wildlife areas of southern Africa, the Zambezi is flat and glassy and broad as a lake, bounded by waterside villages on the Zambian side and by riverine forest thick with mango trees, itala palms, and towering natal mahoganies on the Zimbabwean shore. Watch for kudus and warthogs by day, lions, leopards, and hyenas by night. Narrow, meandering side channels teem with bird life—harons, egrets, hornbills, and ibises.
Local outfitters Ruwesi Canoe Trails, Natureways, Shearwater, and Safari Par Excellence negotiate the hazards on three- to nine-day trips. You can choose your side of the river—Zambia or Zimbabwe—and your style of trip—a "fully serviced" safari (staff go ahead by truck to have tents, hot showers, and dinner ready), or a "participatory" safari (you tote the gear, help prepare meals, and help set up the tents).

The cost ranges from about $400 for a three-day drive-in, participatory trip to $1,200 for a four-day fly-in trip. Book through African Portfolio in the U.S. (800.700.3677; or in Harare, Zimbabwe, (

Filed To: Canoeing, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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