How To Explore Africa By Canoe Safari

Posted January 5, 2023 in Travel Guide - Last updated May 5, 2024


A canoe safari in Africa is an excursion taken on a little open-hulled boat on a river or a similar body of water. The canoes usually have one or two people in them at a time. The main aim of the canoe safari is to observe and understand the wildlife of Africa, including hippos, buffaloes, birds, crocodiles, and elephants. The significant advantage of a canoe safari is that the animals feel less frightened of people on a canoe than in a car or other vehicle. This will let you observe them up close without any interruptions. The nature of canoe safari also makes the interaction with animals more intimate, tranquil, and, at the same time, exhilarating. Let’s dive in and learn how to explore Africa by canoe safari.

Different types of canoe safaris are available in Africa for tourists. You can opt for safaris for a few hours or one day, or you can go for expeditions that cover multiple days. In addition, the safari centers provide customized canoe safaris for people. This will give the travelers a chance to explore the wildlife of Africa on their own terms. Canoe safaris are also an active experience, meaning travelers participate in them. You are responsible for paddling the canoe on a canoe safari. This makes the entire experience even more exhilarating and rewarding.

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Tips for enjoying the perfect safari

A canoe safari is ideal during the summer months. But make sure you go for the expedition during early summer, as the temperatures can increase drastically during late summer. You can also choose to canoe safari during the wet season when there is a drizzle. You can enjoy a perfect canoe safari without issues if you follow some simple tips.

Be Safe Out There

  • Always try to reach the destination the night before your scheduled canoe safari. This will give you time for ample rest, and you will be fresh and invigorated the next day for your safari experience. It will also prevent you from missing the expedition due to issues like a delayed flight. Similarly, try to camp for a night after the safari and return the next day. Traveling back on the same day as the safari can be taxing and might ruin the whole experience.
  • Single-day and multi-day canoe safaris are available for tourists. So, choose the one best suited for you based on your vacation time and budget.
  • The sun can be highly merciless during a canoe safari, especially with the sun’s rays reflecting off the water’s surface. Remember to keep sunscreen and a sunhat with you all the time. Also, place towels on your legs and have a scarf around your neck to prevent sunburns.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, cycling gloves, and sunglasses while canoeing. Keep a fleece or jacket with you, as temperatures can drop during the evening.
  • Remember to bring rafting sandals and walking shoes for the canoe and camp.
  • A torch, spare batteries, power banks, and waterproof bags are essential, especially if you plan to camp on the river banks.
  • If you are worried about rain, keep a poncho with you. A lightweight one is ideal for canoeing.
  • To avoid tipping the canoe, keep your luggage to a minimum while on the trip.

Best places to enjoy canoe safari in Africa

Africa has numerous canoe safaris that will surely give you one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Some of the top canoe safaris in Africa include:

Okavango Delta

This is one of Africa’s top canoe safari destinations that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. This delta is a complex network of channels and lagoons that floods the Kalahari’s 15,000 square kilometers yearly, providing an enormous sanctuary for wildlife, birds, and fish. The Moremi Wildlife Reserve, situated in the heart of the Delta, is a place of extraordinary beauty. It supports an astounding array of animals and birds thanks to its diverse ecosystem, which includes enormous wetlands, riverine woodlands, and dry savannahs.

Niassa Reserve

The unexplored Niassa Reserve in Mozambique is a paradise for canoeing enthusiasts. A canoe trip through the enchanting Lugenda River will allow you to disconnect from the outside world. The major attractions of this place are the vulnerable wild dogs and granite inselbergs. You can also spend time at the beach to unwind appropriately and de-stress.

Zambezi River

The lower Zambezi River, a beautiful waterway that meanders through pristine landscapes, is the focal point of some of the finest canoe safaris on the continent. You will have the opportunity to see fantastic wildlife and birdlife in addition to the breathtaking valley views and spectacular sunsets over the woods. Some wildlife seen during the canoe safari include elephants, hippos, and buffalo.


Canoe safaris can be one of the best experiences of your lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip now with Travel-Wise’s free trip-planning tools to have you on your way to your destination faster than ever!

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