The Zambezi River has been whispered about in both awe and fear, and you’ll hear many locals mentioning the “Nyami Nyami", "Zambezi River God” or “Zambezi Snake Spirit”. They’re referring to one of the gods of the Batinga people lurking in the Zambezi River's depths, who's said to protect them in difficult times. But other than its mystical powers, why has this river become such a royal setting for our fabulous guests? Well, paddle along as we share its wonders with you…
Meet gentle giants on a Zambezi River cruise, Image Credit: Chiawa Camp
The name “Zambezi” means “Great” in the local Tonga language, and the name certainly fits! The Zambezi River has a couple of things going for it. For instance, it’s the fourth-longest river in the world, the longest east-flowing river on our continent, and the largest flowing river that runs into the Indian Ocean from Africa.
However, as host countries go, Zimbabwe and Zambia are most popular, with guests streaming in (pun intended) to get a glimpse of the Zambezi River and where it transitions into the largest waterfall in the world, namely Victoria Falls. It only makes sense that such a massive river will turn into an equally impressive waterfall!
A magical watery wonderland awaits
Do you get bored easily, but your significant other prefers to lounge about? Honey, no more drama, llama! The Zambezi River is the perfect hot spot for adventurers and potato couches alike.
Here are some of our favourite ways to keep busy around the Zambezi River, whether you choose to make Zambia or Zimbabwe your home base.
Seeing hippos are always a highlight of a Zambezi River safari
Let’s get a little wet and wild! This one is not for the faint of heart, but boy will it have you bubble over with joy! Picture yourself all geared up (safety first!) and paddling your way through fierce, frothy waters. You’ll have a VIP meeting with the revered "River God" himself!
Zimbabwe, in particular, is known for hosting white water rafting adventures and has famous rapids with fitting names like “The Overland Truck Eater” and “Gnashing Jaws of Death”.
Wild and wacky adventures on the Zambezi River, Image Credit: Shearwater Victoria Falls
If you prefer to take things slow and steady, don’t worry. There’s no need to rush on a canoe safari, taking you through the more gentle waters of the Zambezi River. As you glide through the water, you’ll meet many wondrous creatures, lifting their heads and meeting your eyes as you pass. It’s one of our favourite ways to get up close and personal with the Zambezi River and all it gives life to.
A tranquil treat on the Zambezi River, Image Credit: Zambezi Expeditions
Reel things in a bit and go on a fishing expedition! Naturally, this magnificent river will be home to plenty of fascinating fish species. In particular, you can tussle with tigerfish, catfish, tilapia bream, and the elusive barbel.
Tigerfish is prolific in the Zambezi River, Image Credit: Sausage Tree Camp
Now, here’s an activity no one can complain about. Picture the sun rising as you sip an Amarula-spiked coffee (a safari tradition of coffee mixed with a local liquor), watching as hippos wallow and diurnal wildlife go about their morning rituals.
Or, as the day starts to hand over the baton to night, enjoy the visual feast of an African sunset and watch the evening’s cast crawling from the shadows to start their “day”. A river cruise is quite simply the most delightful way to experience the Zambezi River.
Drinks with a show, Image Credit: Royal Chundu
Birds of a feather might flock together, but around the Zambezi River, these “flocks” are as varied as a drag queen’s eyeshadow shading! Your binoculars will swish up, down, left and right to try and catch a glimpse as they tease you by flitting about.
Bee-eaters and other birdlife beauties are all around, Image Credit: Royal Zambezi Lodge
Wait, another cruise? Yes, honey, but this time, it’s all about lights, camera, action! The wildlife will give you their best poses when you cruise past in a boat specifically adapted to get the best captures.
We’re talking swivel chairs so you can move 360 degrees and mounts so you can rest your SLR camera and enjoy stability for crisp photos. Depending on where you stay, you could hire equipment so yours won’t weigh you down on your flight to Africa.
Take home your safari memories on camera, Image Credit: Zambezi Queen Collection
At Out2Africa, we specialise in luxury, gay-friendly African travel. More importantly, everything is tailored just for you! So, we’ll make sure your African safari hits all the right notes and is smooth sailing from start to finish.
Reach out to our fabulous Travel Experts, and let’s start planning!
Featured Image Credit: Royal Chundu
Stories from our Africa Experts
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