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One of the more popular means of experiencing Africa's wilderness, big game and warm weather is by canoe safari. Several of the large African rivers are run by canoe but it is the lower Zambezi that really holds centre stage. Mana Pools National Park is a World Heritage Site is on the southern bank in Zimbabwe, while the remote Lower Zambezi National Park is on the northern shoreline in Zambia.
Canoe safaris can range from deluxe backed up trails using tented camps or permanent lodges for overnight stops to full participation canoe trails running over 10 days from Kariba down to Kanyemba (trips that make use of islands and river banks for temporary overnight camps). They can be combined easily with walking safaris and accommodate many different types of budget.
The most flexible type of trip available is a self-drive safari: hire a vehicle, plan your own route, pre-book accommodation of your choice and explore the region under your own steam.
This type of trip generally needs more time and involve more research the other safaris. Namibia is the easiest country for a self-drive safari, particularly for the first-timer, but with a little bit more preparation you should have little difficulty tackling the other safari destinations. Some areas definitely need current local knowledge: if you receive a specific local warning then heed that advice. You should find that, with some digging around, establishing the right contacts is straightforward.
Fly-in or "wing" safaris are regularly used in Botswana and Namibia to cover a large amount of territory with some very specific spots on the agenda in as short a space of time as possible. Kenya is another area well suited to flying safaris, particularly when combining the Mara with Laikipia, Amboseli, the Northern Frontier District and the north coast. The pilot often serves as the guide for the duration of the safari.
This is safari having outgrown its original “overland” connotations. The camps and lodges used for stopovers are often the most exclusive available. Six or seven night fly-in safaris are also popular with guests who have limited time for their vacation.
Then there is the safari for anyone exclusivity, special attention or with a very particular subject that they want to cover in more depth than most: the privately hired safari. There are a number of specialist guides more than up to the task in each of the safari counties. In many cases, they are equally motivated to indulge themselves in a favoured pursuit. In most cases these safaris are on a one guide to two clients ratio.
Some private excursions are into remoter parts, others are on well-trodden trails, explored on a more casual and relaxed basis than usual. Such trips are regular in Tanzania, for example.
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