Get active – go canoeing

January 15th 2019  |   Botswana, Travel, Madagascar, Unique Experiences, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo  |  by   Richard Smith
active canoeing

Peace, space and the absence of mechanical noise are among the greatest luxuries an African holiday can offer. When stripped of the trappings of the 21st century the sounds of this incredible continent add a layer of depth to any visit, with birds, insects, animals and the breeze all adding their melodies to the rich tapestry.

Canoeing is a delightful way to explore, quietly gliding through the water with just the gentle noise of paddle hitting water en-route downstream.  It’s surprising how close you can get to wildlife too, with birds a particular delight.

Canoe safaris can be active or relaxed, lasting for an hour or two provide a break between game drives, longer journeys of three or more days, or epic expeditions of over a week.

Among our favourite options are:

Zimbabwe

The Zambezi River in Zimbabwe is a natural choice for a canoe safari, with broad, braided channels flowing slowly through the beautiful landscapes of Mana Pools, and plentiful wildlife along the banks and in the water.  Mana Pools Shoreline Canoeing provides a variety of itineraries here.

Mana Pools Shoreline Canoeing

Mana Pools Shoreline Canoeing

Zambia

Zambia has some excellent canoeing in the Lower Zambezi National Park, ideal for an afternoon of adventure, with great guiding and masses of wildlife to spot. Stay at Chongwe River Camp or Old Mondoro and you can enjoy a mixture of land and water based safari activities.

Old Mondoro

Old Mondoro

Botswana

In Botswana, the Selinda Spillway is good country for canoeing, a calm waterway with little flow, and wonderfully lush vegetation. Selinda Adventure Trail offers a mix of walking and canoeing, with the proportion of each determined by seasonal water levels.

Selinda Adventure Trail

Selinda Adventure Trail

Elsewhere in Botswana, many safari camps in the Okavango Delta offer excursions in traditional dug-out canoes, known as mokoros, which are propelled through this little piece of paradise with a long pole.  Pelo Camp is one of many offering this favourite African way to traverse the Delta.

Mokoro at Pelo Camp in the Okavango Delta

Mokoro at Pelo Camp in the Okavango Delta

Congo

Adventure seekers will find canoes a good way to navigate the waterways and channels in the dense rain forest of the Congo, reaching places otherwise inaccessible through the tangled vines and narrow passages.  Canoeing here usually goes hand in hand with tracking lowland gorillas.

Canoeing in the Congo

Canoeing in the Congo

Malawi

Lake Malawi is a good destination for keen canoeists, and the crystal clear waters encourage exploration. There is less wildlife to see here, but the scenery is spectacular, with mountain ranges, forested islands, appealing villages, and usually tranquil weather.  Mumbo Island and Kaya Mawa are both great spots for canoeing.

Mumbo Island

Mumbo Island

Madagascar

The Baie D’Antongil is a sheltered and relatively shallow inlet on the north eastern side of Madagascar, which whales find ideal for giving birth.  Stay at Masoala Forest Lodge and you can spend anything to from an hour or two to a whole day paddling beside the forested mountains that line the shore in this incredibly remote place.

Masoala Forest Lodge

Masoala Forest Lodge

Tanzania

Tanzania has a number of beautiful lakes where canoeing is a lovely way to relax, take in some gorgeous scenery and see good birdlife. Alternatively, you can explore many miles of the spectacular Lake Tanganyika on a longer itinerary, camping beside the lake as you go.  Lakeshore Lodge offers a lovely range of canoe adventures.

Lakeshore Lodge canoeing on Lake Tanganyika

Lakeshore Lodge canoeing on Lake Tanganyika

Any questions on a safari in Africa?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions about visiting an area with wild dogs or other iconic African predators. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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