Zambezi River Explorer

Explore the Zambezi River and the game parks of Zimbabwe and Botswana.  This incredible journey starts at the junction of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia and winds its way down the Zambezi Basin both above and below Victoria Falls.  August through November are the best months to see game and experience the Zambezi Basin.  It is the end of the dry season and all of the animals come down to the banks of the river to drink, swim and frolic in the shallows.  The bush has been either eaten or has died down, so seeing the animals is much easier.  In the wet season there is so much fresh green foliage that the animals hide in the thicket or scatter to drinking holes hidden away.

Zimbabwe has a highly developed and protected national park system.  This has allowed the wildlife to thrive and the elephant herds of Botswana and Zimbabwe are among the largest and most protected of Africa. The game viewing in Zimbabwe is outstanding and our trip allows you to experience Africa without the crowds.  We use 4 and 5 star luxury camps combined with wilderness outpost camps so you get to immerse yourself in true African style.

Trip Length 12 Days
Dates
Dates Register
October 21 - November 1, 2018

 

Price $5995
Deposit $1000
Meeting Place Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Gateway City Johannesberg, South Africa
River Rating Intermediate - Advanced
Age Range 13 - 70
Itinerary at a Glance
  • Arrive Victoria Falls and transfer to Imbabala to indulge your senses for three nights at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge
  • Visit the famous Chobe National Park in Botswana
  • Enjoy 2 nights on a canoeing/kayaking safari on the Upper Zambezi River watching hippos, giraffe, elephants and crocs
  • Elephant Camp for two nights in luxurious safari tents, walk with a cheetah
  • Seize opportunities around Victoria Falls for leopard and elephant experiences, rope swings and fly foxes
  • Plunge into the Devil’s Pool in Zambia
  • Explore the Zambezi and Batoka Gorge on a 3-day river expedition
  • Challenge the mighty Zambezi’s huge, exciting but user-friendly rapids
  • Transfer to Victoria Falls Safari Hotel for a night of decadence
  • River explorations, game drives and even walking safaris
  • Enjoy the finest in colonnial hospitality while immersing yourself in the Zambezi Basin
  • Optional Extensions to Hwange’s finest fly-in safari camps and massive herds of elephants
Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive at Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe (or Livingston, Zambia). Soon after you land we will transfer to the Imbabala Safari Lodge and get you out on a game drive or walk. At 6pm we will all rendezvous with our trip leader for a welcome briefing. We will enjoy a toast after flying halfway around the world to converge on the incredible Victoria Falls and Zambezi River. A sunset river cruise may be a great way to get the trip started before the first of many outstanding meals.

Day 2

Guests can choose morning, afternoon or night drives to get their fill of the wonderful game viewing that is available here. All drives are conducted in open-backed 4×4 vehicles that are suited to the terrain and are perfect to afford the best views of the game. We also have a chance for a walking safari. Your professional guides will show you some of the large and small wildlife of Imbabala’s private concession area, highlighting species that might get missed if on a drive. The chance to get up close and personal with the larger species is also very exciting and who can ever forget their first elephant or leopard encounter while walking.

Day 3

Today we will do a day trip into Botswana to visit Chobe National Park by boat and safari vehicle. Chobe is a much busier park then our private concession at Imbabala but does allow us quick immersion into large amounts of game. Hippos, crocs, and elephants will dominate the landscape but zebra, cheetahs and lions are seen regularly. Tonight we will return to the serenity and charm of our private camp.

Days 4, 5 and 6

The African canoe safari is more of an “inflatable kayak” safari rather than what North American’s refer to as canoes. In any event, it starts with a scenic game drive through Victoria Falls National Park. Enroute to our camp we will stop for cool drinks by the river and take in the sounds and sights of the bush. It’s common to see giraffe, elephants and lots of baboons along the way. Upon arrival, we do an orientation and meet the rest of the crew. This portable camp has wall tents, cots with duvets, a large dining area, toilets and even a hot shower.

Our days start at dawn for tea or coffee followed by an “English” hot breakfast. After breakfast we start paddling in two person “kayaks” which are stable and easy to maneuver. The rapids are entertaining but the wildlife is the main reason we are here. Overnight on the banks of the Zambezi you should be ready for anything. Trips in the past have been woken up early by large herds of elephants crossing the river and coming right through camp.

As it will be the dry season, we will hope to see animals as they come down to the river to drink. We generally see elephant, zebra, bushbuck, kudu, Cape buffalo, ubiquitous baboons, impala, and the occasional bush duiker. The bird life is an ornithologist’s dream come true with the various ibises and Trumpeter Horn Bill standing out. Of course, a glimpse of a Lilac Breasted Roller would be welcome as well. The river gets up to a mile wide at times but also channels around sand banks and reed islands. These are the best places to find hippos and crocodiles. The nocturnal creatures we might also see are lions, leopards and the rare wild dog, just to mention a few.

At dusk we’ll gather around and sit high on the bank overlooking the river. We’ll hear the deep, low decibel grumbles and burps of the hippos as they call out to announce their nighttime grazing fete. A few waking lion might be heard as well. The bush will be alive with sound as night falls and we inch closer to the fire. Chances are better that we’ll hear the lionesses in the morning as they return from the dawn hunt.

Day 7

After a few days in the bush, you will be ready for Elephant Camp. This luxurious and delightful lodge, is located in a private concession ensuring a peaceful experience in the heart of Africa. The facilities consist of deluxe and spacious safari tents with inside/outside showers, soaker tubs, plunge pools, private bar, flush toilets, and even WiFi. There is a gorgeous central dining area and lounge area with expansive views.

Day 8

Elephant Camp is located close to Victoria Falls so we have quick access to the national park site where we will tour and witness one of the World’s Natural Wonders. There are also fun opportunities to try zip lining, gorge swings, ultra light flying or take in a little shopping in the town centre. We also will scoot over to the Zambian side of the falls to take in the Devils Pools. This is a small eddy pocket on the edge of the falls where we can hang out 303 feet above certain death!

Day 9

Time to raft the big river! Today we begin our journey into the gorge below Victoria Falls. First we hike down a steep trail to meet our waiting rafts. after a safety briefing we launch downstream and begin our river journey toward the Indian Ocean. With both paddle and oar boats, our days are spent navigating some the world’s biggest and most dynamic rapids. The river gorge starts out deep and steep, twisting and bending to form a series of sinuous goosenecks. The canyon rim looms overhead as we come face to face what some call “Nyami-Nyami”, the Zambezi river god, more easily recognized as the heart pounding and enormous rapids (about one per mile)

The air is hot and dry, the water a mild 70 degrees, and the breeze that sweeps up the canyon is fragrant with the wilds of Africa. Our first night’s camp is where we meet our gear as porters carry it into the gorge for us. This camp is complete with tents, shower, dining area, and beach volleyball. The gear boat guides will meet us here as we bring everything downriver with us from this point.

Day 10

Now we are “self supported” as we raft deeper into the Batoka gorge, running Wake up call, Open and Closed Season, and upper Moemba Falls. We camp on big sandy beaches and relax after intense days of rafting. As we travel downstream, the rapids spread out and we enter some big open valleys. We also come upon two impassable waterfalls. The first, lower Moemba, is an easy portage as we lower the rafts over a 30-foot vertical cliff into an eddy-pool below. We make camp right below this portage.

Day 11

We get up early to take advantage of cooler morning air and float downstream looking for wildlife, watching for crocs and avoiding hippos. Our days include portaging a second waterfall known as Chibango Falls. This is also the proposed dam site for the Batoka Gorge Dam. The falls are a 3-step staircase of explosive whitewater. When we finally reach our takeout, we will pack up our personal gear and head to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. This deluxe lodge is perched on a private game reserve will be a decadent treat after an exciting descent of the Zambezi. Hot showers, a dip in the pool and cocktails around the night time viewing area are always a big hit before going for our farewell dinner.

Day 12

Transfers to Victoria Falls or Livingston for flights home – or connections to fly into Hwange National Park for your next outrageous adventure in Africa…

Safari Extension: you will depart from Victoria Falls for three nights in Hwange National Park

Days 12, 13 and 14 – for those on the extension

After breakfast we will drive 3 hours into Main Camp where we will transfer into an open air safari vehicle and head into the heart of Hwange. Somalisa Camp is one of our favourites. It’s a decadent retreat but most importantly is in the heart of Hwange National Park, one of Africa’s most bio-diverse game parks. Lion, leopard, cheetah, elephants, hippos, Cape buffalo. the rare rhino and of course thousands of elephants ar here to drink from a series of underground springs that the park pumps to the surface.

On the extension we will fly back in chartered aircraft to Victoria Falls airport for for outbound flights

Luxurious Safari Camps

Elephant Camp Zimbabwe

Elephant camp is situated only 10 minutes from Victoria Falls in a private concession within the Victoria Falls National Park. With an emphasis on exclusivity, the luxury tented suites all have private decks and plunge pools.

The suites are all equipped with indoor and outdoor showers, huge baths, private lounges, mini bar and tea/coffee stations, overhead fans plus air conditioning and are all mosquito proofed.

The Elephant Camp overlooks a waterhole that is fed by natural streams in the rainy season that rush down to meet the Masuwe River, and the Zambezi gorges below the Falls. Walks and birding for guests supply boundless photographic opportunities in addition to the variety of activities that are available in Victoria falls.

 


Imbabala Safari Lodge

Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is an unspoilt wilderness experience, on the banks of the Zambezi, where guests rapidly become friends. Imbabala was originally built in 1987 and first opened in 1988. Despite being completely refurbished over the years, Imbabala is still a small unpretentious safari camp offering a true “African Safari Experience”. Imbabala Lodge is tucked away in the bush with a spectacular view over the bushveld and of Mt. Moriah to the west. Imbabala boasts a large variety of game including giraffe, nyala, bushbuck, zebra and several other species which gather in the grassland close to the lodge at sunset.



Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Set high on a natural plateau, the westward facing Victoria Falls Safari Lodge borders the Zambezi National Park & is just four kilometers from the thundering Victoria Falls, Southern Africa’s foremost attraction. Enjoying uninterrupted views of spectacular African sunsets and year round game at its on-site waterhole, accommodation at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is ideally positioned to offer the most discerning traveler a taste of Africa at its best.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was Voted “Best Safari Lodge” in Zimbabwe for 17 consecutive years and listed on Conde Nast Travellers Gold List.

About the Region

The Zambezi River

The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth largest River system, after the Nile, Zaire and Niger Rivers. It runs through six countries on its journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean. Its unique value is that it is less developed than others in terms of human settlement and many areas along its banks enjoy protected status.

The Zambezi’s power has carved the spectacular Victoria Falls and the zigzagging Batoka Gorge. The Zambezi has been harnessed at various points along the way including the massive Kariba Dam between Zambia and Zimbabwe and Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. Plans for another dam at the Batoka Gorge have fortunately been shelved. The river’s beauty has attracted tourists from all over the world providing opportunities for a myriad of water sports and game viewing.

Running for a length of 2700km, the river’s journey begins as an insignificant little spring in the corner of Northwest Zambia in the Mwinilunga District. It bubbles up between the roots of a tree, very close to the border where Zambia, Angola and Zaire meet. It enters Angola for about 230kms, where it accumulates the bulk of its headwater drainage, and re-enters Zambia again at Cholwezi rapids flowing due south but substantially enlarged by the entry of various tributaries.

It passes through the flat sandy country of the Western Province, then traverses the broad, annually flooding Barotse Plains, where much of the water is lost to evaporation, then over more rocky country where it’s tranquil course is interrupted by the Ngonye Falls and Rapids. Pastoralists, farmers and fishermen thinly populate this upper part of the river. Wildlife is sparse it is remarkably free of pollution. This is also the scene of the remarkable Ku-omboka Ceremony where thousands of inhabitants move annually to higher ground as the Zambezi floods into the low lying plains.

As it turns in an easterly direction it forms the border between Zambia and Namibia and eventually joins up with the Chobe River in the Caprivi Swamps, briefly forming a border with Botswana. For the next 500km it serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe thundering over the Victoria Falls and through the narrow, steadily deepening Batoka Gorge, which flattens out at the broad Gwembe Valley. From here it flows into the Kariba Dam for 281km – its width at one point being 40km. From the dam wall the river travels due north, heading east again at Chirundu. Here it is flanked by the Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambian side and Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwean side. This middle zone supports one of Africa’s most important wilderness areas. After the Luangwa Confluence, it’s a much larger Zambezi that flows into Mozambique and out towards the Indian Ocean, having provided power, food, pleasure and transport for many and a home for untold numbers of wildlife along it’s journey.

The Bundu people of Zambia believe the Zambezi River has a spirit called Nyami Nyami. This spirit brings them water to grow crops and fish to eat so they call the river “the river of life”. Perhaps the most spectacular spot along the river is in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls. These falls are two times the size of Niagara Falls at 355 feet high and 5500 feet wide!

The Zambezi River is widely used by wildlife and humans alike. Hippos, crocodiles, baboons, elephants, hyenas and lions are some examples of wildlife you might find along the Zambezi. Humans use the river for transportation, irrigation, tourism and hydropower. The people who live along the river differ from country to country. English is the official language of the area though the different tribes along the banks of the Zambezi speak more than 70 other languages. Currently the countries along the river are at odds as to how to manage the river. In the future these countries must agree to manage “the river of life” so that its people can survive and its spirit can thrive.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It lies between the Zambezi River in the north and the Limpopo River to the south. The country has land borders with Mozambique to the north and east, South Africa to the South, Botswana to the southwest and Zambia to the northwest and north.

Most of Zimbabwe is rolling plateau, with over 75% of it lying between 610m (2000 ft) and 1,525m (5,000 ft) above sea level, and almost all of it over 305m (1,000 ft).

The area of high plateau, know as the High Veld, is some 400 miles long by 50 miles wide, and stretches northeast to southwest at 1,220m (4,000 ft) to 1,676m (5,500ft). This culminates in the northeast in the Udizi and Inyanga mountains, reaching the country’s highest point at Mt. Inyangani at 2,596m (8,517 ft). The middle veld is a plateau ranging from 610m (2,000 ft) to 1,220m (4,000 ft) high. Below 610m (2,000ft) are areas making up the Low Veld, wide and sandy plains in the basins of the Zambezi and the Limpopo.

The steep mountain ranges cut Zimbabwe off from the eastern plains that border the Indian Ocean. The High Veld is a central ridge forming the country’s watershed, with stream flowing southeast to the Limpopo and Sabi rivers and northwest into the Zambezi. Deep river valleys cut the Middle Veld. Only the larger of the many rivers have an all-year-round flow of water. Most of rivers have falls and rapids.

Zimbabwe is a land locked country, which lies wholly within the tropics. The main physical characteristics of the country are the high watershed areas, mostly between 1200m and 1500m, which roughly divide the country into two halves the southeast and northwest. In general, the altitude falls from the central watershed and escarpments towards the main river valleys, interrupted by secondary plateau, ranges and valleys which may be localized but do have a noteworthy effect on the local climate. Lake Kariba, covering over 5000km along the northwestern border has created significant climatic changes in its vicinity. The low lying main river valleys, Zambezi, Limpopo and Sabi are below 500m and some areas in these valleys may fall below 300m. Rainfall generally increases from south to north, since winds of a northerly origin are much moister than winds of a southerly origin. However, the gradient may be distorted by elevation.

Trip Planner

Planning your trip

This trip planner has been created to help prepare you for your upcoming adventure. We have tried to anticipate questions you might have concerning what to bring, health concerns, weather, etc. If any of your questions remain unanswered, please don’t hesitate to call.

What To Bring

The climate is hot and dry, and the water in the Zambezi River is relatively warm, so for the most part, you will live in shorts and a t-shirt. For sun protection and to help keep you cool while on the river, we recommend a long sleeve button down shirt made of a light colored, light and quick-drying fabric. September and October are the dry months so there should be very few mosquitoes to worry about. There are certain dining rooms in Victoria Falls that require “smarter” attire – for men, long pants and a button down shirt, and a dress for women.

• Safari clothing: cotton button down shirt, Khaki trousers & shorts – the best colors are those that blend in with the Bush, don’t scare away the animals

• T-shirts, white or earth colors

• Comfortable walking shoes or boots

• Socks

• “Smart Casual” attire for Hotels

• Sweater or fleece for cool mornings

• Comfortable clothing for camp

• Long sleeve quick-dry shirt

• Quick-dry shorts

• Swimsuit

• River sandals (Tevas, Chacos or similar)

• A carabineer

• Waterproof sunscreen

• Sunglasses & straps

• Insect repellent

• Toiletry kit

• Wide brimmed hat, strap

• Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries

• Camera, extra memory, batteries

• H20 bottle, cup, Iodine crystals

• Toiletry kit

• Bandana

• Small 20 liter dry bag for stuff, Zip lock Bags.

Tents are provided but optional. It is usually hot and stargazing is great under the Southern Cross! Most people just sleep out on a ground cloth. However, a tent for privacy is provided.

Optional

• Power Bars or similar energy bars. (One per day)

• Gatorade powder packets to help mask the taste of iodine treated water (10 liters worth)

• A good book

• A journal and pens

• Cards, fun & games

• Music, or instruments

• Binoculars

• Bird book

Additional things you might consider bringing:

If you like strong coffee, perhaps bring a pound of gourmet grounds. When you are in duty free, you might pick up your favourite bottle of spirit for the rafting trip. We provide reasonable amounts of wine and beer. Bring clothes that you are planning to discard and trade in for curios in Vic Falls. For example, trade old T-shirts for fine woodcarvings. Also, the fishing is quite good. A telescopic rod and reel with some spoon spinners and a steel leader will allow you to land some feisty Tiger Fish!

Essential Travel Documents

Your Passport – If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement.

Check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have a least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have additional pages added.

Please do not pack your passport in your check-in luggage. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure but a various times during your trip.

Visas – Visa costs can often change at the last minute. It’s best to have adequate US cash on you in small denominations. You should also check the country’s embassy / consular website before leaving your country.

Zimbabwe

Entry requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds. Canadians and Americans are required to pay visa fees at point of entry.

 

Kaza Uni-Visa Important Notice 

With effect December 2016 the Kaza Uni-Visa will be reinstated.

The Governments of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe are pleased to announce the re-launch of the Kavango Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (Kaza) Uni-Visa on 21st December 2016.

The Uni-Visa is only available at the following ports of entry:

The Uni-Visa will be issued at a standard fee of US$50. Guests must have US$50 cash available for payment in the event there are no credit card payment facilities at the port of entry.

Validity – the Kaza Uni-Visa will be valid for 30 days and act as a multiple entry visa as long as you remain in Zimbabwe and Zambia i.e. clients can cross into Zimbabwe/Zambia as frequently as they like within the 30 day period.

It also covers those who visit Botswana for day trips through the Kazangula Borders, however, it will not be valid if staying in Botswana overnight. In this case, you would need to purchase a new Visa.

Eligible Countries:

Citizens from 40 countries listed below shall be eligible for the Kaza Uni-Visa obtainable at the eight (8) ports of entry as stated above.
Argentina Japan
Austria Liechtenstein
Australia Luxembourg
Belgium Monaco
Brazil Netherlands
Britain (UK) New Zealand
Brunei Norway
Burundi Poland
Canada Portugal
Cook Islands Puerto Rico
Czech Republic Russia
Denmark Rwanda
Finland Slovakia Republic
France Slovenia Republic
Germany Spain
Greece Sweden
Hungary Switzerland
Iceland UAE
Israel Uruguay
Italy USA
Clients will be directed to the dedicated counter where the special visa shall be issued – the visa is for holiday purposes only and not for business purposes.If someone wants to enter Zambia or Zimbabwe whose Nationality is not listed above then normal (current) specific Zambia /Zimbabwe visa/entry requirements apply.

All current visa processes for both countries are still available and in operation however generally the Uni-Visa will be more cost effective & efficient for a tourists requirements.

For further details please do not hesitate in contacting us, or please visit www.kazavisa.info, e-mail Zambia Tourism Board: info@zambiatourism.org.zm or Zimbabwe Tourism Authority info@ztazim.co.zw

South Africa

No Visa is required for US citizens – only a passport.

http://www.saembassy.org/

Travel and Evacuation Insurance

Travel insurance that includes medical emergency evacuation is mandatory in order for you to take part in this expedition. You must provide proof of purchase of evacuation insurance prior to the trip. You may call Travel Insurance Service at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at http://www.travelinsure.com/what/imedhigh.htm?32931.

Coverage for baggage loss, medical protection, trip cancellation, trip interruption is highly recommended. When selecting a policy please make sure you are very clear about what it will and will not cover. No travel insurance covers all scenarios. Proof of insurance will be required prior to your trip.

Getting There

You will be flying in and out of Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA). The first day of the trip is an arrival day. The last day of the trip is your departure day. Be sure to email your entire flight itinerary and we will arrange an airport pick-up.

*There is an airport departure tax, payable in US dollars.

Money Matters

You should bring plenty of US dollars. Crisp, clean, new bills are best. Small bills come in handy for tipping hotel staff, taxis and buying small things off the street. ATMs are readily available and the easiest way to get cash.

Travelers Checks are not recommended, as they are difficult to cash. A money belt worn under your clothes is highly recommended.

Immunizations

We suggest you check with your family doctor at least 2 months before your trip to find out the latest requirements for shots when traveling to Africa. Recent information on required vaccinations can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control international travelers hotline at 877-394-8747. You can access their website by directing your browser to http://www.cdc.gov/. You should particularly look into the following vaccinations:

• Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)

• Typhoid

• Yellow fever

• Rabies

• As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms may include fever and flu-like illness, including: chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Malaria can often be prevented by using anti-malarial drugs and by using personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites. However, in spite of all protective measures, travelers may still develop malaria. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and should tell the physician their travel history.

Malarone is the drug of choice for Malaria prevention as it has fewer reported side effects than other drugs and, according to various studies, is more effective.

In addition to using drugs to prevent malaria, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothing that covers most of the body, using bed nets, and applying insect repellent to exposed skin, particularly between dusk and dawn. The most effective repellents contain the active ingredient DEET. When using DEET, follow these precautions:

• Always use according to label directions.

• Use repellent only when outdoors and wash skin after coming indoors.

• Do not breathe or swallow repellent or get it in the eyes.

• Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.

• Adults should use DEET at a concentration of 30% to 35%.

• DEET should not come in contact with rubber elements for they will melt.

For greater protection, clothing can be soaked in or sprayed with permethrin. Permethrin will repel insects for several months. Repellents containing DEET, and Permethrin can be purchased in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores.

Water

Although it takes a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Africa, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in most of Africa. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice as the ice can be made from tap water.

Food

If you are wary of getting sick, then play it safe and eat only cooked foods or fresh fruit that you have peeled yourself. The best hotels and restaurants have high standards for hygiene and food preparation. In general, stay cautious, eat what appeals to you and trust your senses.

Diarrhea

Traveling to Africa is going to be a big change on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Although ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, on a paddling trip this is uncomfortable. You may want to bring an over-the-counter medication to minimize your discomfort or talk to your doctor about prescribing an antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea such as Cipro. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as some of the restrooms in Africa may not have TP.

Prescriptions

If you take prescription medications that you need to bring, be sure to have a plentiful supply and the doctor’s prescription in case something happens to them. Along those lines, it is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring a spare set.

Voltage

Electrical current in Africa is 220 volts AC.

Thievery

Although the locals are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, poverty and therefore thievery, is a problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch that you wear around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including fancy watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (i.e.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in your ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings.

Fitness Levels

Our trips are designed for people who enjoy the out-of-doors, rather than for fitness fanatics. Still, they are active holidays. Age is unimportant when it comes to your ability to do the rafting, paddling, and hiking-the more important consideration is your physical condition. If you haven’t attempted the kind of exercise levels required by our trips within the last couple of years, please be aware of the sort of trip you are taking. It’s an active one, and you will enjoy it more if you have been doing some exercise before you go. Activities that involve aerobic conditioning, such as swimming, walking, jogging, squash, and tennis are great for overall physical conditioning.

No previous river experience is required. Your guides will give you an orientation to expedition practices and teach you all the basic skills that you will require to enjoy the different aspects of the trip. Our prime consideration is to provide you with a trip that is as safe and comfortable as possible while still maintaining the integrity of a wilderness experience.

Etiquette

On our trip, we will be travelling through environmentally sensitive areas. Our excursions are designed to promote an understanding of the delicate ecosystems that make this area unique, while preserving their fundamental integrity. We ask participants to share our concern for the environment by practicing low-impact touring in this sensitive area.

R.O.A.M. operates on a “leave-no-trace” policy, meaning we travel in a self-contained manner, carrying in what we require and carrying out all garbage and human waste. We believe the survival of the natural environment and the wildlife it supports depends on establishing an economy beyond simple resource harvesting. Our goal is to immerse our clients in Africa’s vast natural beauty, which, in turn, supports eco-tourism as a viable, economic choice.

Gratuities

The tipping of guides is entirely discretionary, and we feel strongly that gratuities should not be offered to them if they lead anything less than a great trip. However, we expect that our staff will do a great job in making your trip memorable and, when they do, it is not uncommon for our travellers to offer a gratuity. The staff very much appreciates it.

We are often asked what is appropriate. In general, we have found that when our travellers offer a gratuity, it is in the range of a “thank you” to 15% of the trip cost per person. But again, tipping is entirely at your discretion.

Special Considerations

Please let us know if you are having a birthday or anniversary on the trip. We will also need to know of any medical or dietary requirements that you would like us to consider in planning your trip (i.e. if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have any food allergies.). Please note this on the Guest Registration Form (be specific as to what your needs are) and return it to our office at least 60 days before your trip. If you are booking your trip less than 60 days before departure, please make sure you’ve discussed any special requests with our office.

Recommended Reading / Viewing

• Out of Africa, I. Dineson (or rent the video))

• River Gods, R. Bangs)

• The power of one, the movie.)

• Don’t lets go to the Dogs tonight – Alexander Fuller

Helpful Phrases

• Just now = Pretty soon, or later

• Now now = Immediately, on the double!

• Make a Plan = I don’t quite know yet

• Kun-Jhani = Good morning

• Siya Bonga =