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Safari On The Great Zambezi

Hippy hippy shake

sunny 78 °F

Leaving the bustling airportin Harare in a small plane we fly further and further away from civilization, TV, internet and all the mod con’s all left behind. Happily we arrive at our home for the next few days on the Great Zambezi River.
I have been to camps on rivers before, but somehow this water is so much more accessible. We arrived late in the afternoon and it was quite hot. Our room was a large tent on a platform just meters from the rivers edge. The room at times was surrounded by hippos, elephants and more. The tented rooms are strategically placed under the trees for shade and a nice breeze prevails most of the day. This camp has a huge open deck in the common area with a bonfire area, a bar, coffee spot a loo with a view. The animals come through camp regularly and so you can sit on the deck and watch the birds, hippos, Elephant and crocs! This is not Disney World, so there will be no petting the animals.
Before this trip I was so concerned about the gorilla trekking in Rwanda, I had no idea the challenge I was about to face canoeing on the Zambezi among the hippos and crocs. This was really frightening.
On that day the water guide, another guest and our guide got a lift upriver on the pontoon boat where we got off in the reeds and climbed as quickly as they would let us into the canoes. We pushed off and headed down stream. The river guide explained to us that he was a father and grandfather and he would also like to come back safely to see his family! So yes, it is dangerous. The river is wide and there are some little islands with lots of reeds spread out along the middle. The river is full of crocs and hippos. At first we are heading out into the middle where it is deeper and then we skim the reeds to avoid the hippos
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The river guide and another guest.
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The island along the right
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The river guide standing in the canoe letting the hippos know we are coming through.
There were many hippos in the water vocalizing and so the guide said to follow him along the edge of the little islands through the reeds. Occasionally we got a bit stuck, had to back up and try again. We managed to zig zag through the hippo-campus (haha) and made it safely back to shore to celebrate and watch the sunset with a libation.
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This picture is of the river guide standing out on the island raising his paddle and making noise to alert the hippos !
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Here we sit watching the sunset over the Zambezi looking across to Zambia.
I really never imagined doing anything like this, but when the opportunity presented itself I said yes quickly and really only reconsidered when it was too late. Fortunately the guides are experienced and know how to read the animals. That is really the key ingredient here. I was in an environment that was totally foreign to me and therefore I felt uneasy. The told us the escape route would be to go onto the little islands which I suppose was a better choice than swimming with hippos, crocs and elephant. Happily we had a safe journey and I am grateful for the knowledge and expertise of the river guide from Ruchomechi! Well done Nyengue and Kurt.
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Elephant on the islands in the middle of the river
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Locals from Zambian villages fishing for dinner.

Posted by Lauriesam 06:26 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged #lovetotravel #adventuretravel #africa #bucketlist #zambia #canoesafari #zambeziriver #zimbabwe #hippocountry #watersafari

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