Wildlife – check! Travel – check! Adventure– check! If you are looking for your next adventure, then the Zambezi Canoe Challenge in Zambia could be the ideal solution for you!
This exclusive and unique charity canoeing challenge is being run by animal welfare charity WVS (Worldwide Veterinary Service) who opened their veterinary clinic in Zambia last year. The charity felt that this Zambia would be an ideal place to witness some incredible wildlife via a water-based safari and provided a fantastic opportunity to raise essential funds to help improve animal welfare worldwide.
Zambia, with its abundant wildlife, is home to the awe-inspiring Zambezi River, which is Africa’s fourth largest river and you can expect to see enormous herds of elephants at the river’s edge, along with hippos, impala, waterbucks and more. Despite being somewhat elusive, you can also expect to see leopards and lions in this region too. Laura who took part in this challenge said, “It was the most fantastic trip I have ever had – made so by the care we were given; we were so well looked after! Lots of memorable moments – sleeping on the sand under the stars, meeting fantastic people, seeing the hippos in their territory… the list goes on.”
As part of this exciting challenge, you will spend 4 days canoeing on the Zambezi River, a water-based safari provides a unique perspective of the beauty of the natural landscapes of Zambia and of course, it’s incredible wildlife.
The trip takes place on the Lower Zambezi River in September 2017, which is a wonderful time to see new leaves appear on the trees! It is a great time to undertake this challenge as the dry season has ended buy it is the start of the hot season too. The Zambian sunrise and sunsets are beautiful beyond measure as the entire landscape changes colour, as the sun moves through the sky, reflecting off the calm waters. Professional English-speaking guides who will accompany the group, alongside support staff that are first aid trained and a UK tour manager, will accompany you.
You can expect to paddle approximately 12-28km per day on the river but there are some leisurely stretches where you can soak up the sights and sounds of Africa!
The canoes are two-man 18-foot Canadian-style fibreglass canoes with containment nets and ropes to ensure both group gear and personal belongings are secure at all times. Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers, while the bucketseats are foam cushioned allowing a reasonable level of back support. Single bladed paddles are used and life jackets supplied.
You will camp each night on the riverbank or small islands in cosy tents and evenings are often spent around the campfire telling stories and getting to know one another. You can expect to make friends for life and previous participants have remarked, “It was the best trip ever! Our group was just so wonderful and we all got along fine! Every day there were lots of laughs and giggling and strong friendships have been founded.” One previous participant, Sarah recalls, “Canoeing down the Zambezi River has to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We’d wake up early and paddle for a while downstream, enjoying close-up views of the elephants, hippos and buffalo as they enjoyed the cool of the morning, before we stopped for a hearty breakfast. We’d then continue, covering around 12 – 15 kms each day, often veering off into the channels at the waters edge in order to get a closer look at something the guides (all expert wildlife rangers as well as experienced canoeists!) had spotted.
”Travelling along the water, in such a calm and peaceful manner, means you get to really experience the animals close-up, they just accept you as part of their surroundings. Late in the afternoon we’d set up camp on the river’s edge, and enjoy an evening around the campfire before retiring to our tents. Hearing the roar of lions in the distance, and waking up to the sound of a hippo grazing contentedly beside the tent are highlights which will stick with me forever! ”
After the canoe challenge, participants will return to Lusaka to visit an elephant orphanage that WVS supports where many of these elephants are rehabilitated, ready for their eventual release back to the wild.
The trip has an initial registration fee of £275 but you will also need to raise a minimum of £2995, which will cover flights, transfers, accommodation, equipment and more, but will also include a donation to WVS as well.