Mana Shoreline Canoe Safari
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Experience Africa from a unique perspective on a four day canoe safari along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Paddle past pods of hippo, camp on remote riverbanks and enjoy a truly adventurous safari.
At a Glance
A canoeing safari offers a different game viewing experience along the Zambezi River
Stay in an authentic mobile safari camp in Mana Pools National Park
Get close to and glide past old elephant bulls swimming and wading out to the grass islands in the river
Experience the sun rising over the Zambezi, one of the most magical times of the day
Discover the wilderness area of the Mana Pools National Park and spot the variety of local wildlife
Meet our specialists
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation.
Mana Shoreline Canoe Safaris gives you the ultimate way to experience Mana Pools National Park. Float along the Zambezi by canoe, encountering wildlife as you go, and taking in the beautiful scenery. With camping each night in a different riverside location, and paddling close to hippos and other wildlife, this is a true safari adventure. You'll be part of a small group of eight people (minimum age 14 years).
Your first day begins with a game drive through Mana Pools National Park as you head to your first campsite. After a welcome lunch and briefing from your guide you'll go to the canoe launch close to the confluence of the Ruckomechi and Zambezi Rivers. Here your guides will give a short safety briefing and teach you some basic canoeing skills before you set off on your adventure. The first afternoon is taken at a slow pace allowing you to become acquainted with the canoes and navigating through the water. Throughout this afternoon you'll start to spot various animals and bird life attracted to the water’s edge, including hippo, buffalo, elephant and crocodile as well as a variety of antelope species. You'll reach camp around sunset for refreshing drinks and a hot shower before dinner.
As dawn breaks you'll awake and be out on the water in time for sun rise; a magical time of day. After a couple hours of paddling, you'll stop for breakfast under a grove of acacia trees and enjoy the chance to take a walking safari, learning tracking techniques from your guide and noticing the smaller details of the ecosystem. Back in your canoe, you'll head downstream, keeping an eye out for the old elephant bulls often found in this area. Floating up close to these gentle giants while they drink at the water's edge is an experience you won't soon forget! After a break for lunch during the heat of the day you'll head back to your canoes and paddle towards Chessa Camp. The camp overlooks a small channel with a large grass plain separating it from the main Zambezi, home to buffalo, waterbuck, elephant and hippo who come out of the water to graze in the evenings.
Day three begins with another pre-dawn wake up and sunrise canoe. Today you'll enter the “wilderness area” of Mana Pools National Park where there's limited access to people and vehicles. Stop for breakfast on the stunning Mbera River floodplain which is home to beautiful acacia woodland where you'll find large groups of female elephants with their babies towards the end of the dry season. Following breakfast, paddle through a maze of small channels before once again joining the main Zambezi River. Lunch will be set up on one of the shallow sandbanks in the middle of the river with table and chairs placed in ankle deep water with the river stretching out on either side. Continuing your canoe journey, you paddle onward to Ilala Camp, your final stop on the canoe trail. Depending on timing and water levels there may be an opportunity to explore Chikwenya Island on foot. This unique island is the largest on this section of the river and is home to some superb wildlife.
On the final day, choose from an early guided walk or have a well deserved lie in before your transfer to the airstrip for your flight home or your next safari destination.
Location & Directions
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Vundu Camp is is a simple yet comfortable camp located on the banks of the mighty Zambezi in Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. From Vundu you continue down the river to Chessa Camp in time for sunset. Set on a small channel with a small plain separating it from the main Zambezi, Chessa enjoys some great elephant and hippo sightings in the evening. On the last night you will paddle into Ilala Camp offering rustic luxury.
When to go
Mana Pools has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zimbabwe's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game viewing, the dryer months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb birdwatching at the end of the rains.