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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Cruise the Zambezi River

While the Zambezi has long been a popular attraction for day cruises, a cruise lasting several days on this impressive African river and one of its tributaries, the Chobe, is a more unusual experience. For the Zambezi, Cruise Safaris offer a cruise on their spacious Shikra houseboats, while companies such as AmaWaterways and Abercrombie & Kent provide cruises on the Chobe.  

A Zambezi cruise is a different experience from other river cruises, and experienced river cruise travellers will find the boats less luxurious and more intimate than those on other rivers. The stretches of the river covered are fairly small, and cruises often only last a few days, but the sights that you will see on this cruise will be spectacular. Cruising to the wildlife of Africa is a safari experience that you will never forget.  

A Zambezi cruise takes place on Lake Kariba. This is a vast stretch of water created by a dam across the river. There are plenty of opportunities for spotting the remarkable river wildlife, including crocodiles and hippos. Keen anglers can also try their hand at fishing in the lake with tiger fish, Cornish jacks and Kariba beam among the fish to be caught.

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Why Visit Zambezi?


Zambezi scenery image by cruisedirection

A different experience

The sights that you will see on this cruise will be spectacular

The Chobe will take you into the heart of the African countryside, with no towns nearby and no ports of call. Excursions include game drives, offering opportunities to discover Africa’s fascinating wildlife. Even from the boat, creatures such as elephants and leopards can be seen coming to drink from the river. As well as river mammals, the Chobe is home to a diverse range of birdlife, so don’t forget your binoculars. As you relax on deck, you never know which rare species you may spot next.  

As the evening draws in on the Zambezi, you will discover the spectacular African sunsets, best enjoyed from the deck with a cocktail in hand. The wonders do not stop as the sun goes down. Far from towns and cities, the night skies offer some unparalleled opportunities for star gazing.  

With the cruise being a fairly short experience, you will want to find more to fill your holiday. Often, cruise operators will offer combination holidays with a cruise preceded or followed by other experiences, including a rhino safari. You should also not miss the spectacular sight of the Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi tumbles 100m over a two-kilometre basalt cliff, sending plumes of spray that can be seen from miles around. Paths lead you to viewing platforms, but the most breathtaking views of the falls are seen from the air from a microlight or helicopter.  

The Zambezi forms the borders of several African countries, so be prepared for the wait and sometimes the costs that border crossings can take and make sure you keep your passport handy. Be prepared for the more annoying forms of wildlife and take insect repellent. A course of anti-malaria pills is strongly advised.  

The pace of life on a Zambezi cruise slows down considerably, with little of the frantic sightseeing of other river cruises. Here, you can simply relax on deck and allow the wonders of Africa to come to you.

Zambezi destination image by cruisedirection

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