The Safari exceeded Sue’s and my expectations and has been a continuous talking point since our return.
John and Suzanne Taylor
Mana Canoe Trail
This Exploration is perfect for adventurous travellers, allowing guests the closest possible encounters with wildlife on one of the greatest rivers in Africa. This thrilling experience traverses the Mana Pools National Park, through the heart of Mana Pools and along the Zambezi's shoreline, canoeing past countless hippos on the way! Each night is spent camping on the banks of the Zambezi River, ultimately finishing 65km downstream with many adventures to recall. Encounters with animals, whether on canoe or on foot, are up close and awe-inspiring. The Trail is for reasonably fit guests and is led by an experienced guide. Support vehicles and staff assist guests and set up camp each day.
The Mana Canoe Trail departs every Monday and Thursday between May and November.
Day 1: Start of the Trail, close to Ruckomechi, Zambezi River
Guests are transferred to Ruckomechi by air, arriving at around midday. At approximately 2 pm, after meeting the guide and going through a thorough safety briefing, canoeists start paddling downstream in sturdy Canadian canoes to our mobile camp in the Mana Pools National Park. The camp will have already been set up in advance; the first afternoon of paddling covers about 11 kilometres. This is a relatively easy distance to cover in the time available and gives canoeists a chance to familiarise themselves with the canoes and the various paddle strokes required.
Days 2 & 3: Zambezi River wild camping
Typically, canoeists are awakened before dawn with tea/coffee and biscuits and we try to get onto the water just before sunrise. This is a magical time on the river as the water is usually calm and the peace and tranquillity is amazing.
After paddling for usually about two hours, we beach the canoes on the bank of the Zambezi River and set out for a game walk. The guide chooses a suitable area, based on his knowledge of the area and game movements and we take a few hours to explore on foot, and unravel some of the intricacies of the bush. After returning to the canoes, and a light snack, we continue canoeing to a suitable lunch spot, arriving around midday. Lunch is carried in the canoes and is usually consists of a salad and cold meats.
We normally rest up in the shade for a while or take another short walk before moving on arriving at the next camp at dusk. The camp, and all the luggage, will have been moved by the camp staff and all that is required to be done by participants is to enjoy a hot shower under the stars, and a cold drink, followed by dinner. The daily distances covered from one camp to the next are around 20 to 25 kilometres and the daily routine will vary according to wildlife movements.
Day 4: Transfer to Chikwenya Airstrip, end of services
After breakfast by the river, guests will either be transferred by Land Rover or a walk to the nearby Chikwenya airstrip for the flight out or can take a drive back Ruckomechi Camp for an additional night or nights stay if they wish to spend more time in the wonderful Zambezi Valley.