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The Zambezi Valley

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The Zambezi Valley - Exodus Travels
The Zambezi Valley - Exodus Travels
Excellent
50 reviews
Starts
Lusaka
Destinations
+1
Ends
Lusaka
Map

Highlights

  • Canoe down the Zambezi River
  • Go on game walks and drives
  • View a variety of wildlife
  • Fly Camp in Chiawa Game Management Area
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Accommodation
Camping
Max Group Size
12
Transportation
Boat
Travel style
Wildlife
Start and end in Lusaka! With the wildlife tour The Zambezi Valley, you have a 8 day tour package taking you through Lusaka, Zambia and Lower Zambezi National Park. The Zambezi Valley is a small group tour that includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals, transport.

50 Reviews

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  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 1
    Written on July 15, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A simply amazing trip it was exactly what I expected it to be. Wonderful experiences!!!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Canoeing on the Zambizi early in the morning g is just magical. We were lucky to see a leopard,however for me the close encounters with elephants were the best.What did you think of your group leader?TK and Best were simply amazing! They could not do enough for us, they made you feel safe and somehow every night they cooked the most incredible food!!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Don't take too much stuff as everything goes on the canoe!!! I would recommend a few days at the end staying at Eureka camp and in Lusaka, or even longer and travel more in Zambia??

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 2
    Written on July 15, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    What a trip. This is an amazing way to see wildlife up close and personal. Right from the start you are immersed in the wilds and you will be seeing all manner of animals as you cruise down the Zambezi. This has got to be one of my favourite holidays so far and I would recommend this to anyone. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Drifting up in the canoes to within, what seemed to be, a few feet of a family of elephants and feeling that I could reach out and touch them. The majesty of these wonderful creatures is breathtaking.What did you think of your group leader?TK was amazing. He was very knowledgable and made sure you felt safe and comfortable during the trip. His knowledge on all things related to Zambia, the people and wildlife and fauna, was second to none and he sure had some good cooking skills.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Do not worry to much if you think that you need to be super fit to do this trip. As long as you have a reasonable level of fitness this should not tax you too much. There is no pressure to go steaming up the river working yourself to the bone each day, rather there is some mild paddling as you cruise along with the river current. So as long as you do some regular excercise and can handle wild camping for a few nights then you will enjoy this trip. Also on a final note please remember to change any Kwacha before you head through the security at the airport. There are no places to change your money in the departure lounge in Lusaka.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you like some adventure and want to see the wild from a different persepective this is the trip for you. You will meet amazing people, make some friends and have a great time. Go for it you know you want to.

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 3
    Written on July 8, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was my twentieth visit to Southern Africa and one of the best ever. Seeing a remote part of the continent from a canoe on the Zambezi gives a unique perspective of the continent and a chance to view game with minimal disturbance to the animals.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Waking up every morning, watching the sun rise and anticipating what the day would bring.What did you think of your group leader?TK lived up to the reputation he's gained through other reviews. He was fantastic, ably assisted by his No 2, Best.He's knowledgeable, safety conscious and a man who binds a party together with good humour and a firm hand. Don't mess with him! Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Read the earlier reviews of this trip for useful tips. The paddling uses muscles you didn't know you had and I was glad I had paid a few visits to the gym beforehand.  You do need to be fairly fit.Is there anything else you would like to add?Don't hesitate - book now.

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 4
    Written on July 1, 2013
    4.0 - Good

    A great travel experienceWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?That was the first evening on the island surrounded by hills, great sunset and the first taste of the wildlife..What did you think of your group leader?The group leader was good and was always at hand for information & help. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The advice I would give is that depends on what time of the year you go it does get very cold at night. The other thing to be awere of is that you can be on the river from around 8-9hrs a day with that and the packing and unpacking the boats and pitchibng and unpitching tents each day it can be alot of work....Is there anything else you would like to add?The holiday is worth the experience and even though there is a lot of exercise with rowing & carrying you wont lose weight, you are fed very well........

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 5
    Written on December 18, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    Aside from a VERY rocky start to the holiday (see below), this was an absolutely AMAZING experience, which the group took to calling HIPPO-DODGE-EM-US, CROC-IDYLLIC and ELE-FANTASTIC!  The Lower Zambezi was simply stunning; the repeated and close-up experiences with elephants were moving and gorgeous; the hippos were funny and beautiful and scary all at once; the vervet monkeys were cute and cheeky, as were the baboons; the warthogs and water buffalo were wonderful...I could go on and on!  Check out the song I wrote on http://www.monicamaxwest.com/web%20audio/Taking%20It%20Easy.mp3!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I have several!  We were a small group of 8 (6 visitors and 2 guides) in 4 canoes, and one favourite moment was rafting (where you pull all the canoes together) next to a HUGE bull elephant eating grass right next to us (about 4-5 meters away)...the elephants are so noble and dignified and intelligent!  I also loved doing the wild camping and watching elephants pass behind the camp in the twilight...mmm...and then going to sleep and hearing elephants and hippos munching the grass right next to the tents (not for the faint hearted)!  I have some wonderful photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/monicamaxwest/.  I also loved watching the baboons and vervets from fly camp: they play and chase and eat for hours...What did you think of your group leader?Our group was led by CB, and our co-leader was Carlos.  Both were WONDERFUL!  They were very knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, funny, generous, and reassuring.  They worked NON-STOP, including making our meals, helping with the tents, and always smiling.  And they even (finally) sang a Zambian song for me (something for kids about an elephant) - fantastic!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Yes, yes, yes!  As mentioned, I had a terrible start to the trip.  Five of the six of us flew Kenya Airways as part of the Exodus package; our flight out from Heathrow to Nairobi was delayed, which meant we just made it to our connecting flight to Lusaka via Harare...but our luggage didn't.  And in my case, my luggage was not with me until 3 days into the trip, which was a serious health and safety hazard for me.  I've written extensively to Exodus about the problems which ensued, but I'll keep this to advice to travellers here: 1. GETTING THERE: Fly British Airways if you can; Kenya Airways are a nightmare!  They misplace baggage, run late, and cancel flights when there aren’t enough people.  If you do fly with Kenya Airways, pack EVERYTHING in carry-on luggage; as of October 2012, you could bring 2 x carry-ons.  You should be able to fit everything in 2 carry-ons, especially if you don’t over-pack.  If you do check baggage, make sure your luggage can withstand being thrown around a bit by the airlines! 2. LEVEL OF FITNESS: As I work out at the gym 3x per week, I consider myself to have a reasonable level of fitness and I would still say that the canoeing is pretty hard on the arms.  Unless you have someone very strong in the back of the boat to do a lot of the rowing, be prepared for this!  I didn’t hold the oars loosely enough either, so I would strongly recommend fingerless sailing gloves (I got mine on eBay for £5.99) and/or blister plasters (I developed one blister on my hand). 3. PACKING: (bear in mind this is for October weather; make adjustments accordingly) If you're travelling Kenya Airways, pack everything in carry-on!  Whatever your airline, make sure you have everything you need for 2-3 days (including medication, etc) in case you get separated from your luggage!  In October, it is far too hot and dry to require rain protection, pyjamas, etc.  I also certainly didn’t need my sleeping bag, as it only got down to 20 degrees at night.  Accept that you are going to be sweaty and dirty – don’t overpack!  If I were to do the trip again, I’d wear clothes on the plane to keep me warm (and would not wear these again till my return) and I’d bring 2 pairs of shorts, 2-3 vests/t-shirts, and 3 knickers.  You can rinse clothes in the river (careful of crocs!) and they’ll dry quickly overnight.  There's honestly no point in changing for the time on the river because you’ll be sweaty and dirty again in 5 minutes.  Some of my fellow travellers brought light weight trousers that you can zip the legs off to make shorts.  Those were brilliant because it was far too hot – even at night – to bear wearing anything but the lightest weight clothes.  Bring sandals that can get wet for the canoes and one pair of walking shoes (they don’t need to be walking boots – the terrain isn’t that difficult and we never walked for more than 3 hours - just something with a reasonable grip – even trainers would probably be fine); wet wipes (1 package is plenty); toilet paper (1 roll is plenty); 50% deet mosquito repellent (100ml of a pump spray type bottle was plenty); a SMALL size bottle of biodegradable soap (such as Dr Bronner’s magic soap) – you can wash yourself and your clothes in this; sun factor 30-40 (150ml should be fine – carry this in 3 x 50ml bottles for carry-on); earplugs; binoculars; headtorch; unscented lipbalm; mints to freshen breath; dry sacs to keep everything dry in the canoe; a sports bra is great for the exceptionally bumpy ride back to Lusaka; a pillow is handy (the ones provided are uncomfortable); the only reason to bring a swimsuit is for the last night at Eureka campsite - you certainly WON’T be swimming in the river (with the crocs and hippos); the canoe seats are tough on the bum, so if you can think of anything to bring to soften that, go for it!  (Cycling shorts would be way too hot). 4. FOOD: As a vegetarian (and picky eater), it was hard to get enough to eat; I know this contradicts what other travellers have said, but without filling up on white bread sandwiches, I was often hungry.  If I went again, I would bring a pack or two of sealed fruit/nut bars (like Jordan's) to snack on when I was hungry.  Bear in mind you don't want any 'open food' in your tents (so the wild animals don't get too interested). 5. BEING EARTH FRIENDLY: I found I didn’t need a water bottle – there is no recycling or eco way to dispose of plastic in Zambia, so I used one plastic water bottle (bought the water at the airport) throughout the trip.  If you bring snacks, remember to carry your rubbish with you. 6. ELECTRICITY: as it says in the trip notes, there is nowhere to charge batteries on the river.  I took A LOT of photos, and brought 3 batteries, which was enough.  In reality, there was actually a chance to charge batteries at the fly camp (off a big battery they had there); however, that is not guaranteed.  The plugs vary but at Eureka (last night) they were British ones, not European.  Maybe bring one European one in case. 7. OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Ask the guides for African food if you want to try it.  We were not given the opportunity and I was sad about that.  They do get supplies boated in half-way through the camping, so you’d need to ask if you want something.  It certainly isn’t guaranteed you’ll get it, but it’s worth asking!  If you’re new to canoeing, ask for technique instructions, like how to hold the paddle and which hand should be doing the work, so that you’ll maximise your efficiency and minimise your pain.Is there anything else you would like to add?Aside from the nightmare of missing luggage and the way this was dealt with on the ground, this was an absolutely fabulous and unforgettable trip!  The guides were excellent; my trip mates were great (and very generous when I was 3 days without luggage); and the elephants, hippos, baboons, vervets especially were breathtaking!  If you're up for an adventure, being sweaty and dirty, working hard (arm muscles), and being enchanted by the beauty and stillness of the Lower Zambezi, this is the trip for you!

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 6
    Written on October 30, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    An exciting, challenging, hilarious adventure, this trip takes you into the bush to share briefly the territory of the animals living there, observing their behaviour first hand.  Canoeing in formation on the Zambezi is magical, scary and strenuous, depending on wind strength, hippo pods, time of day: a brilliant way to see so many creatures close up and at ease.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?High spots included the elephant family, with very young baby, spotted three times watering in the shallows of the river; our first proper wash, dipping in the shallows of one of our island camp sites just before the light faded; the last stretch of canoeing each day, when the river was liquid gold and the paddling gentle as the current took us; nights filled with the sounds of the wild animals all around us; all to a constant background chorus of frogs, crickets, and, on one occasion, geese.  Oh and the amazing clarity of the air all around, the light and the night sky - I saw only one small private plane the whole time.What did you think of your group leader?TK, our group leader, enthralled us with his extensive knowledge and understanding of the creatures we saw.  He proved infinitely adaptable as one problem after another beset his plans: I was impressed at his extreme care for our enjoyment and his efforts to ensure we all got the most out of the trip.  TK's wonderful sense of humour was infectious; our group had great fun coping with the wilder aspects of camping and felt completely safe with him around.  Our leader and his assistant, Carlos, somehow managed to rustle up enormous quantities of food at regular intervals: they were in fact tireless in their efforts to make this trip memorable.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I wish I had taken protective gloves as initially the canoeing can be harsh on the hands.  On the first day of canoeing, I was more worried about getting the paddling right than taking in what was around me.  A mistake as in fact, there are lots of quiet moments on the river when we paused to watch animals and birds on the banks; it's better to be relaxed - but alert to instructions from the group leader.  Keeping in a line formation took practice! The trip was enhanced by the fact that the group mixed together well: this added a strong element of fun and good humour.   Is there anything else you would like to add?For me this was a wonderful, challenging adventure and I am so glad I chose this trip.  I loved the wild camping and the not washing; and, in retrospect, the scary moments on the river - near misses with hippos; and battling with head winds.  I found our guide inspirational on the subject of animal behaviour.  It was a privilege to live so close to these creatures.  The fact that Plan A was regularly abandoned to become Plan C, or even Plan E on one occasion became hilarious, bonding us together in misfortune, but firing us all with determination to see and do everything.  We have all come away with so many stories; some of them TK's real life experiences of narrow escapes; and a warning of what happens when you don't follow your leader's instructions. I do wish the travelling time had not taken up so much of the trip as it seemed all too short; but this may have been influenced by the fact that there was industrial action at Nairobi when we arrived and we had a long delay; which meant we couldn't get to our starting point until the next day. 

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 7
    Written on September 11, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    A truly superb trip - one simply can not get closer than this to wildlife and nature. The scenery and landscapes keep changing, the animal sightings are countless, nature puts on a show beyond imagination every hour of every day... and the local leaders are fantastic, making the experience even more wonderful with their competence and insights.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Hard to pick one... Elephants with their little ones just before sunset on a sand island, us making an approach crawling in the warm sand - a breathtakingly beautiful and uplifting experience. Lions counting the little airplanes landing and taking off at a tiny airstrip we found during the driving safari part of the trip, as if plane spotting during their siesta...The Southern sky... with Milky Way and constellations of such brightness that one could only see such celestial show in high quality astronomy books.The visits to the orphanage and the village were truly inspirational. Ernest is a wonderful dedicated man, huge respect to him for what he achieved and what he keeps striving for. Right next to our camp, herds of different animals coming to drink, as if they were using time slots in a well-organised system... a truly incredible parade, first baboons, then they left, impalas came, then after them came wild hogs, then guineafowls appeared...What did you think of your group leader?I simply can not praise Cuthbert and Best highly enough and one can only have deep respect for them. Superb people, their competence, expertise, personality all made the trip even more memorable. In any situation, one can feel perfectly safe with them, and as it was shown many times, anything and everything gets magically solved. Truly, many many thanks to both for the wonderful experience. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The daypack should keep one going so packing light is very advisable. A 25-30 litre backpack would be highly sufficient even with camera and extra lenses without problems.A dry bag is VERY recommended, the river can get very choppy when wind picks up and one can end up with quite a bit of water in the canoe. Is there anything else you would like to add?It was at the same time an amazing, uplifting and humbling experience. Zambezi is truly a mighty river and nature has put on a "show" one could not imagine.Being so close, experiencing everything, being part of the landscape rather than observing it from some artificial 'bubble' has advantages that are just undescribable.In that sense, one can't possibly imagine a more perfect trip for that complete immersion in local nature. Thanks to Exodus, the local leaders and the group for making this an extremely memorable trip.  

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 8
    Written on July 12, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    A unique trip that provided great opportunities to view the wildlife close up and experience nature as it had intended. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Were do we begin, watching the elephants bath in the river, dodging the hippos, observing the vast night sky whilst catching glimpses of shooting stars whilst sitting around the fire in the company of our fellow travellers. What did you think of your group leader?TK and Carlos were excellent, with saftey being paramount. In addition there cooking wasn't bad either. TK had a wealth of knowledge which he was more than happy to impart.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Go for it, you will not regret it!We would suggest that despite providing sleeping bags we regretted not taking our own as it got really cold at night. Also due to the rubber coating on the sleeping bags  these were sometimes slightly damp. 

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 9
    Written on January 29, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was a fantastic trip with just the right mix of activity(canoeing) and wildlife watching, the guide was excellent and couldn't have looked after us better, it was an experience I'll remember all my life.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Sitting in a canoe on the mighty Zambezi, silently, while a few metres away an elephant watched us from the bank, flapping its ears. Watching (at a safe distance) a pod of hippos floating in the river and snorting at us. Sitting in the quiet of the evening wth a glass of wine (yes!) discussing the animals and birds we had seen that day with our guide.What did you think of your group leader?Our leader couldn't have been better.  He was knowledgable about everything - animals, local customs, countryside - and a good cook too!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This was a relaxing trip well within the capabilities of anyone who is moderately fit and wants a close-up safari.Is there anything else you would like to add?The trip had some exciting moments such as a hippo coming up from the depths beside us but the guide brought us safely through them!

  • The Zambezi Valley reviewer 10
    Written on January 29, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was a fantastic trip with just the right mix of activity(canoeing) and wildlife watching, the guide was excellent and couldn't have looked after us better, it was an experience I'll remember all my life.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Sitting in a canoe on the mighty Zambezi, silently, while a few metres away an elephant watched us from the bank, flapping its ears. Watching (at a safe distance) a pod of hippos floating in the river and snorting at us. Sitting in the quiet of the evening wth a glass of wine (yes!) discussing the animals and birds we had seen that day with our guide.What did you think of your group leader?Our leader couldn't have been better.  He was knowledgable about everything - animals, local customs, countryside - and a good cook too!Do you have any advice for potential travellers?This was a relaxing trip well within the capabilities of anyone who is moderately fit and wants a close-up safari.Is there anything else you would like to add?The trip had some exciting moments such as a hippo coming up from the depths beside us but the guide brought us safely through them!

Itinerary

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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Lusaka; transfer to the Zambezi River.
  2. Day 2-4: Three days canoeing and wildlife watching on the Zambezi River, camping on remote islands.
  3. Day 5: Morning canoeing; afternoon game walk and drive in Game Management Area.
  4. Day 6: Canoe to Lower Zambezi N.P.; morning game walk; afternoon game drive back to camp.
  5. Day 7: Transfer to our riverside camp.
  6. Day 8: Transfer to Lusaka; end.

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

  • Insurance

  • Additional Services

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About the countries

Useful things to know before you go

Currencies

ZK
Kwacha
Zambia

Plugs & Adapters

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Visa

Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.

Vaccinations

These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
Typhoid
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Hepatitis A
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Cholera
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Tuberculosis
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 3 months before travel.
Hepatitis B
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 2 months before travel.
Rabies
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 1 month before travel.
Meningococcal meningitis
Recommended for Zambia. Ideally 3 weeks before travel.

Policies

Location
Start and end in Lusaka.
Hold my space
TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
Deposit
TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 20 October 2018 the full payment of $1,858 is necessary.
Cancellation policy
No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $1858 for The Zambezi Valley, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
Credit Cards
The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express

Destinations

Covering a total distance of approx 288 km.
  • Lusaka (Zambia)
  • 144 km
  • Lower Zambezi National Park (Zambia)
  • 144 km
  • Lusaka (Zambia)

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