Top Ten Southern Africa Classic Adventures

Canoe the Lower Zambezi

Don't be fooled by the innocent-looking hippos—these foul-tempered beasts kill more people in Africa than any other creatures. And they're the reason why a canoe trip down the Zambezi in northernmost Zimbabwe is one of the planet's most dangerous rides. The whitewater has nothing to do with it; in fact, a novice paddler can handle the technical challenges. But every kilometer or so you encounter large groups of the pink beasts, and there's always a chance that they'll charge and overturn your boat—or worse. At least two tourists and one guide are killed on this stretch of river every year. Then, of course, you have to worry about crocs. And the hazards don't end there: You often have to creep past bathing elephants and buffalo and brave terrestrial predators that come sniffing round the tents at night. Most people, however, make it safely and come back with memories of truly primordial Africa: standing on the riverbank in mid-afternoon watching two bull elephants tussle for leadership of the clan, while just downriver a huge croc lifts itself onto a sandbank where just moments before a lion had been drinking. Make the journey with Shearwater Safaris, and you'll make the run from Mana Pools to Kanyamba over six days.


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