Ruwesi Canoe Trail Safari
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Embark on a unique journey experiencing the heart of the Mana Pools region of Zimbabwe with the Ruwesi Canoe Trail. This canoe safari covers a distance of 40 miles over four days, camping at remote spots on the riverbank along the way.
At a Glance
Get up close to the wildlife of the Mana Pools by canoe - the ultimate safari adventure
Spend four days paddling along 40 miles of the Zambezi river, accompanied by an expert guide
Stay in simple camps along the riverbank each evening - set up by a camp crew who'll prepare you delicious meals
The Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe's most beautiful national parks and a canoe safari here is one of the best ways to explore
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.
This four day canoe safari is ideal for adventurous travelers taking you on a unique journey along the mighty Zambezi River, experiencing close encounters with the local wildlife. You will drift through Mana Pools National Park passing endless pods of crocodile and hippo, flocks of birds and occasionally sighting elephants along the way. You will stay in an authentic tented camp as well as mobile camps perfectly positioned on the banks of the Zambezi River. You will travel a total of 40 miles / 64 kilometers down the Zambezi River on this trip creating memories that will last you a lifetime.
On the first day of your canoeing journey you will be transferred to the launch site near Ruckomechi in the Mana Pools National Park. Here you will meet your guide who will stay with you for your whole journey on the Ruwesi Canoe Trail. Following the safety briefing you will set off downstream to your first nights camp, Little Vundu, a comfortable tented camp. Your first afternoon of canoeing will cover a distance of 6 miles / 9 km. This is a good amount to cover in the time available and is perfect for you to familiarise yourself with the canoe and the various paddle strokes required.
Each morning you will be woken up before dawn with a hot drink and biscuits, aiming to get onto the river just before sunrise. After paddling for a couple hours in the morning you will return to dry land and take part in a two hour game walk to explore the stunning surrounds, and discover the local flora and fauna. Following this walk you will return to your canoes for a light snack before canoeing downstream to a lunch spot. Following lunch you will have the chance to rest or take part in a short guided walk. You will then get back in your canoe and paddle to your next night's accommodation in a mobile tented camp. In the evening you will have a chance to enjoy a hot shower under the stars and a cold drink followed by dinner. Day three follows a similar pattern of canoeing, stopping for lunch and staying in your camp in a location further downstream. On your final day you will enjoy breakfast by the river, and be transferred by land rover, or walk, to the nearby Chikwenya airstrip for your flight out. Alternatively take a game drive back to Ruckomechi Camp for an additional night’s stay, spending more time exploring the Zambezi Valley.
Each day your luggage will be transported from the previous night’s camp by staff. A camp support team will dismantle and resurrect the camp each morning, having it ready for you when you arrive in the afternoon. The joy of a canoe safari is how close you can get to the wildlife, under the watchful eye of knowledgeable guides. These canoe trails are ideal for anyone who is fairly fit with a good sense of adventure.
Location & Directions
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
The Ruwesi Canoe Trail safari begins from the Ruckomechi area of the Mana Pools National Park. We recommend starting with a night or two on safari in the park before the canoe trail commences, to avoid a long day of traveling and getting straight in a canoe. At the end of the canoe trail further downstream you will be transferred to the nearest airstrip for your light aircraft flight to your next destination.
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.
The canoe trail operates on a shared basis between April and November, and private departures are also possible during these months if you prefer to enjoy this experience to yourself!