Experience and Fitness

No previous canoeing experience is necessary although we recommend a reasonable level of fitness. At certain times of the year strong winds may occur which makes paddling more difficult. Should this happen, the guide will wait for the wind to drop off before carrying on where ever possible. Guides have ultimate jurisdiction when determining the course of action required for the safety and welfare of the guests. 

Equipment Supplied

Fiberglass 18ft two man Canadian style Canoes are used for their robust structure with single bladed paddles. Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers with fixed bucket seats. Containment nets to ensure safari and personal belongings are secure at all times. Life jackets are supplied but all clients must be able to swim.
Two-man industrial mosquito netted bow tents are used. These allow for a full view of the night sky and give maximum aeration. Fold out mattresses, sleeping bags, sheet liners and airline pillows are also provided, but guests may bring their own sleeping bags, if desired.
Other equipment includes: cooler boxes, tables, chairs, gas cookers, melamine crockery, and cutlery plus other practical items to ensure a reasonable level of comfort on safari.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are generally used as support vehicles for the return transfers while boats and aircraft may be useful options when required.

What to Bring

As a guide line on what to bring on your safari, clients are asked to keep luggage to minimum of +/- 7kgs. Excess baggage may be kept for safe keeping at our office for collection at the end of the safari.
•    Neutral coloured shorts and T-shirts, swimming costume for summer months.
•    Personal Toiletries and small towel
•    Canvas shoes or rafting sandals, a comfortable pair of hiking shoes where walks are involved
•    Hat with a wide brim
•    Jacket or sweater for the evenings
•    Shirts (including a long sleeved one for sun protection)
•    A kikoi (or sarong) to cover your legs to protect them from the sun
•    Torch or flashlight and extra batteries
•    Camera and accessories. Recharging facilites at River Horse
•    Binoculars, sun glasses
•    Sunscreen,  Insect repellent
•    Warm clothes to sleep in for winter nights/light waterproof clothing for wet season
•    Personnel drinking flask for your canoe along with a dry bags for personal items if available


All guides are qualified through the governing bodies of both the Zambian and Zimababwe wildlife and National Parks authorities qaulifying them to lead canoeing and walking safaris having passed both pracical and written exams. 
In addition, all guides have a minimum practical training period of two years with the company prior to becoming a trip leaders.
Water proof Pelican cases are carried as first aid boxes with the basic essentials.. 
On the shorter canoeing trips we operate local cellular networks while satellite phones are used in the more remote regions of the lower Zambezi. 
All clients are briefed on the saftey aspects of a canoeing safari prior to the trips departure while we always ensure everyone has time to familerize themselvs with their canoes and paddling techniques early on in the safari.

Health Issues

The Zambezi Valley is a malarial area, but your doctor can advise you on the appropriate prophylactics to protect you. Any health concerns or medical conditions such as allergies, epilepsy etc should be brought to the attention of the management prior to the start of the safari.
Nuisance Insects
We recommend the use of insect repellents especially from dusk onwards, together with  trousers / long sleeved shirts to cover arms and legs.
Sun Protection
The use of wide brimmed hats and plenty of sunscreen are strongly advised on all trips, bit in summer and winter months. Long sleeved shirts and kikois/towels also protect arms and legs from sunburn during canoeing.
Individual Health Issues
Any health concerns or medical conditions such as allergies, epilepsy etc should be brought to the attention of the management prior to the start of the safari. Two weeks notice about allergies to certain food ingredients is required for us to make suitable arrangements for meals.

Seasons and Temperature

The canoeing season runs year round with temperatures are at their highest in September and October. With the onset of the rains from December through to April where light weight, water proof clothing is required.
Winter runs from May to August where warm clothing is necessary in the evenings.For those chosing to come during the rains, the air strip may be closed and then the drive out is the only option.
June to November is generally the best time of the year to canoe in terms of wildlife concentrations. Much of the inland water has dried up, and game tends to move onto the riverfront for water.
However in the wet summer months there is the added attraction of very high concentrations of nesting migratory bird life along the river, as well as the normal resident game.

General Points of Interest

Geographically, the section of Zambezi River between Kariba and the lowest take out point, is also known as the Middle Zambezi. In particular, the section of river in the Mana Pools region has the highest recorded numbers of game and bird life on the entire Zambezi - on both sides of the river.


Travel and medical insurance is compulsory for all clients. All clients must have pre arranged insurance in their own country prior to leaving so as to cover any unexpected medical expenses and loss / theft of personal effects.


Please check visa requirements with your agent or River Horse Safaris prior to departure. Most visas can be obtained at the point of entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe on arrival.

Age Restrictions

The minimum age of clients is 15 years. There is however no maximum age, although the client must be reasonably fit. The age limit may be flexible for a specific group booking. By prior arrangement children under the age of 15 may be allowed on certain safaris provided each child is seperatley under the control of a parent/guardian. THis does not apply to school or family trips.

Group Size

On most trips we limit group sizes to 5 canoes, or 9 guests. However this does not apply to youth groups or students with their own special arrangments.