Map of canoe Trip

Canoe Trip

Chirundu to Mana Pools,

part 1

Picking a Canoe Safari

We started out our canoe trip in Kariba. After much debate, we decided to take our trip with River Horse Canoe Safaris. Canoe trips vary a lot in price, and some companies make a big deal about starting from the Zimbabwe side rather than the Zambian side of the Zambezi river. Once you're on the river it doesn't really matter. If you're trying to decide on which trip to take, ask about the campsites...the ones on River Horse were pretty primative. The only difference in canoes that we could tell is that some had cusions and others didn't. Make sure to check out our suggestions for equipment and clothing.

Day 1, 17km

Spar Grocery Store On the morning our trip started, we met our canoe guide, Shine, at the River Horse office in Kariba around 9am. River Horse was nice enough to let us leave some of our stuff at their office, so we didn't have a lot of extra baggage. On our way out of town, we stopped by the local grocery store for supplies before crossing the Kariba dam into Zambia. This border crossing is pretty slow, so plan to spend some time here. Lunch wasn't until 3:30pm or so, so eat a big breakfast, or bring some snacks for the car trip. We traveled in an open jeep, which can get pretty windy, so make sure you have your warm hat handy also.

Kariba Dam Unloading canoes at Chirundu We arrived in Chirunda at about 2pm, after driving through Zambia for several hours. We unloaded the canoes and then started out on the river for a 17km stretch. Shine spent a few minutes giving us a safety talk, warning us about the dangers of crocodiles (there is one every 20 feet on the river), and of hippos. He was most insistant that we NOT dangle our hands/feet out of the water. After this, we were surprised to stop for a late lunch right in the middle of the river. Shine pulled roast chicken, cheese, fresh roll, and all the sandwich fixings we could want out of the cooler.

Lunch on the Zambezi Campsite number 1 We paddled on until almost dark, not seeing many animals, and stopped on a sandy island in the middle of the river. We set up our tents while Shine cooked spaghetti from scratch over a gas stove. We had red wine and salad with dinner...quite a feast. This is participation camping, so we all helped with the dishes. We used water straight from the Zambezi to wash with, which made me nervous at first, but no one in our group got sick. We sat around the campfire listening to the hippos around us and the lions in the hills in the distance.

Go to Day 2 of canoe trip

Go to Day 3 of canoe trip

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