Mana Pools Canoe Safari

A 4 Day Zambezi River Adventure

Mana Pools Canoe Safari

The Mana Pools Canoe Safari is a luxurious canoe journey down the mighty Zambezi River.  You'll leave camp with the sunrise and leisurely canoe your way to the next camp.  Floating into camp with the sunset you will find an ice cold drink, hot shower and dinner being prepared.  This full service, 3 night, 4 day safari follows the Zambezi River through the Mana Pools National Park.  Canoeing offers guests a unique way of viewing game, you can glide up to elephants crossing the Zambezi and watch game coming down to the river to drink.  Canoeing begins near the confluence of the Ruckomechi River and Zambezi River and continues along the Mana Pools shoreline to Illala Camp across from Chikwenya Island in the Mana Pools ‘Wilderness Area.’

Our camps are true bush camps, offering rustic luxury – there is no electricity, no permanent structures and no plumbing.  A taste of the way safaris used to be, a truly authentic African bush experience.  The camps are eco-friendly, designed to be erected and dismantled within hours, leaving not trace on the environment.

We also offer a series of budget friendly Adventurer canoe safaris.  These safaris are semi-participatory where guests pitch their tents and assist with some of the camp chores.  You’ll sleep in dome tents and on a mattress pad.  Yes, you’ll forego some amenities but camping on remote islands in the Zambezi River makes this a true adventure!

Learn More About The Mana Pools Canoe Safari

BRIEF ITINERARY (Luxury Canoe Safari)

Day 1 | Arrive at Vundu Camp

After being collected by the guide, guests are driven 20 miles - a leisurely game drive through the spectacular Mana Pools floodplain - to the first night’s campsite.  After a refreshing lunch break you will take a short drive to the canoe launch-spot.  Here, the guide will give a full safety briefing, pointing out where all equipment - such as the first aid kit - is kept, as well as explaining what to do in an emergency.  The briefing also covers the basic techniques of steering and controlling the Canadian-style (18 ft) canoes.   The group then departs for a leisurely paddle downstream, returning to Vundu camp at sunset.  

Day 2  | Canoe to Chessa Camp

An early wake-up - as dawn breaks.  Hot water for freshening up will be placed in raised basins outside each tent, while tea, freshly brewed coffee, muffins or home-made biscuits are already waiting by the campfire.  While you pack up your personal kit, the support staff load the canoes with all required for the day ahead.  Following paddling for couple of hours, breakfast takes place under a grove of acacia trees.  After breakfast, guests have the opportunity to set off on a walk on the floodplain and surrounding woodlands to search for game.  Returning to the canoes guests head downstream to an area renowned for its huge, old elephant bulls.  The guide tries to time the trip to catch them swimming or wading out to the grass islands, where the canoes will be able to glide quietly alongside these awesome giants.   Our welcoming support staff are waiting at camp, when you arrive at sunset.  

Day 3 | Canoe to Illala Camp

This follows the same basic itinerary as day two, with a predawn wake up and sunrise while drifting down the Zambezi.  However, this is the day that guests will enter the “Wilderness Area” of Mana Pools National Park where there is limited access to people and vehicles.  In fact, the only road is about 3 miles in-land - the same one our support team will use.   From here on you are entering a much more remote environment. 

Day 4 | Departure

Depending on guests departure time, an early morning walk before breakfast is possible or a well deserved lie in.  After which, there will be a short game drive to the airstrip or Nyamepi main camp where we will bid you farewell. 

There are no set departure dates for the luxury canoe safari.  Simply let us know the dates you'd like to travel and we'll check on availability.

Our budget-friendly Adventure Canoe Safaris do have set departure dates.  Please contact us!

Accommodation:  Large, custom built tents are used to guarantee guests comfort.  Tents are spacious walk-in style with en-suite toilet facilities for night use and comfortable beds with fresh linen. The tents are mosquito proof with mosquito gauze on the roof so guests can lie in bed and enjoy the night sky, all tents have have flysheets to ensure guests to not get wet if it does rain.  Camps are fully equipped with a kitchen accompanied with an experienced bush cook, bar facilities and dining area as well as waiter service.  The canoes used are Canadian style approximately 8ft in length and single blade paddles.

The semi-participatory Adventure Canoe Safaris are self-contained. All equipment and food is carried in the canoes and there is no vehicle back up apart from pick-up and drop off.  All camping equipment is supplied. This includes gas stoves, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, plastic plates, mugs, tables, stools, camping mattresses, sleeping bags, liners, candles and cooler boxes and dome tents. Guest can bring their own sleeping bags if preferred. Fishing equipment is not supplied but clients can bring their own. The canoes used are Canadian style approximately 8ft in length and single blade paddles.

GROUP SIZE:  Minimum group size 2, maximum group size is 8.

PAYMENT: A non-refundable, 20% deposit is required to confirm booking.  Balance is due 7 weeks before departure. 

Other terms & conditions apply.



  • All transfers from Main Camp - Nyamepi or airstrips are in open 4x4 vehicles.
  • All meals.
  • Drinks - Including local beers, spirits, imported wines, minerals, cordials, mineral water, tea and coffee.
  • All canoeing equipment - Canoes are two-man, Canadian-style canoes, and the paddles are American Carlisle paddles.
  • All camping equipment.
  • Professional guide.
  • All flights (international & within Zimbabwe) and departure taxes.
  • Entry visas.
  • Travel insurance (required).
  • Optional safari extensions.
  • Staff gratuities.
  • Pre-/post-safari accommodation.
  • Items of personal nature and toiletries.

*Services included or excluded and will depend on your final itinerary and vary between the luxury and adventurer canoe safari. 


2023 Rates

Luxury Canoe Safari

$1240 (Nov-Jun)

$1590 (July-Oct)

Adventurer Canoe Safari

$670-$1410 (Nov-Jun)

$810-$1610 (July-Oct)

*Rates are per person sharing and for cash payment.  Rates vary according to number of nights

Length: Varies from 2-9 nights

Route:  Starts/ends in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

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