canoe safari
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canoe safari

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A canoe safari
is a trip in a small open-hulled boat piloted usually by one or two occupants using single-bladed paddles, passing along a river or other waterway in Africa, usually with the express intention of close-up encounters with wildlife, notably hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes and birds, as well as any other animals which happen to be along the banks.

It can be surprisingly easy to get up close to many of these animals, which tend to feel a good deal less threatened by a canoe than by people on foot or in a vehicle. The interaction experiences can be more tranquil and intimate on occasions, more exhilarating and potentially dangerous at other times.

A canoe safari can last anything from a gentle couple of hours out of a lodge, to multiple night expeditions of continuous travel down a major river, camping out along the way.

Similar small boat experiences include mokoro canoe safari and kayaking.


In the Mana Pools area of northern Zimbabwe, the Mana Canoe Trail is a three night expedition along the great Zambezi River, a trip which is renowned for up-close interaction with hippos and elephants in particular. A mobile camp is moved along the river each night by a separate vehicle support team and guests can also enjoy a good deal of high quality walking safari along the way.

In the Linyanti Waterfront area of northern Botswana, the Selinda Canoe Trail is a four night expedition which navigates along the Selinda Spillway, a seasonal watercourse which connect the Okavango and Linyanti floodplains. Another high class operation through prime wildlife areas.


One area which commonly offers high quality canoe safari as an optional activity, typically for two or three hours at a time, is the Lower Zambezi in Zambia, notably out of Chongwe River Camp, Chiawa Camp and Sausage Tree Camp.
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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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