Upper Zambezi Canoe Safari

14 November 2016

Upper Zambezi Canoeing

Upper Zambezi Canoeing

This last weekend I had the good fortune to overnight in Zambezi National Park, along with my eldest daughter and a bunch of her mates on a canoe Safari organised through Wild Horizons, the leading adventure outfitter in Victoria Falls.

Eight twelve years old’s, four parents and the Wild Horizons guides, lead by Fanwell set off from 310 Parkway on Saturday afternoon for Zambezi National Park,  a couple of kilometers upstream of the Falls. The drive to the overnight camping site winds it’s way through Zambezi National park, following the the river and has to be one of the most scenic drives in Africa.

The Zambezi river, studded with islands and fringed with evergreen tree’s offers a refreshing sight from the inland bush, which at the end of the dry season is all grey’s and browns.  Exceptional game viewing along the way is guaranteed, the cool waters of the Zambezi being the only drinking water available to wildlife for miles.

On arrival at the camp, walk in tents were already pitched and waiting for our overnight gear, a quick brief by Fanwell pointed out the necessities: Communal flush toilet and bucket showers, ice box full of bottled water, soft drinks and beers.

Canoe Camp

Canoe Camp

The kids spent the sunset playing on the pristine ‘beach’ below camp, forgoing any thoughts of a shower. Adults enjoyed the magnificent views of the Zambezi, supping ice cold Gin and Tonic whilst keeping an eye on the antics of the kids below us.

View from Camp

View from Camp

Dinner was served under the canopy of the Jackal Berry tree’s with an almost full moon lighting the scene,  making the subdued lights of the candles seem superfluous.  An incredible three course dinner followed,  cooked over an open fire by the chef, accompanied by the bush symphony: hippo, nocturnal birds and the distant calls of hyena and lion.

A night cap around the fire was interrupted by an elephant bull that silently glided within twenty yards of the camp fire , clearly visible in the moonlight, paying no attention to a satiated group of folks, drifting off into the night as quietly as he had arrived.

The following morning, the ever efficient camp staff had  hot water for tea and coffee laid out before sunrise, thereafter serving a full blow out English breakfast.

Hippo

Hippo

Fanwell rounded up an excitable, if somewhat apprehensive group of kids and adults for a pre canoe safety talk. Calmly he explained any potential dangers and hazards that could be encountered, the what to do/not to do’s and then answered the kids detailed questions which came fast and furiously. Each inflatable canoe, had a an adult and one child, which were surprisingly comfortable, easy to maneuver, light weight and practically unsinkable.

Safety Talk

Safety Talk

Thereafter we set off down the Zambezi, with a pleasant tail wind and the river current doing most of the ‘work’ for us. Fanwell in the lead navigated the group through a couple of minor, but hugely exciting rapids, past the resident hippo herds, always in tune with the river, respectful, calm and clearly in his element.

As always with a group of kids, there was the obligatory water fights, but as the morning wore on one was able to soak up the unsurpassed beauty and tranquility of the Zambezi, the mile wide river, which is at it’s lowest ebb at this time of the year, often fans out into a myriad of narrow channels, with the banks fringed with lush tropical vegetation, spectacular wildlife and a bird check list to die for.

Canoeing

Canoeing

Halfway through the trip Fanwell found us a sand bank, with crystal clear water two foot deep and about one hundred yards long where we could all take a cooler in the river. The kids went ballistic and soon had a game of touch rugby on the go. Adults happy to enjoy the cool water and keep a lazy eye out for any unwanted guests in the form of crocodiles, which although present were denied any access to a snack by the clear visibility of the water and shallow depth.

Zambezi Swim

Zambezi Swim

Refreshed we continued our journey, floating serenely at most times and then bobbing about for brief adrenaline filled moments in the rapids. There is something intrinsically exciting and rewarding about doing something so close to nature, with an added element of perceived danger that makes a trip like this an everlasting memory to be treasured.

The end rushed in far to quickly, the camp crew met us below hippo creek with a fabulous lunch and ice cold drinks.

Ten minutes later I was back home, where I found myself competing with my daughter in the telling of our adventures to the rest of the family.

See link below for video.

https://www.facebook.com/WildHorizons1/videos/10154122341307339/

John Nicholson

 

 

Zim-Zam: KAZA univisa between Zim and Zam set to resume

Zim-Zam: KAZA univisa between Zim and Zam set to resume

The KAZA univisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia is expected to be implemented shortly and awaits only the signatures of the two countries’ Home Affairs departments.

According to Zimbabwe’s immigration department, 50 000 visa stickers have been shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia are already at the ports of entry.

“Training for the immigration officers from both countries has been done and we are ready,” said Zimbabwe Immigration Principal Director Clemence Masango. “We are now waiting for Minister Ignatius Chombo and his Zambian counterpart Steven Kampyongo to sign the official documents to pave way for the implementation at the ports of entry.”

Masango said the univisa is expected to facilitate the smooth movement of tourists between the two countries as a permanent arrangement.

The pilot project was conducted between November 2014 and December 2015 with more than 47 000 visitors benefiting from the arrangement during the period.

The two countries have however called on the KAZA-TFCA secretariat to assist in funding the integration of the univisa into the border management system so that it can be issued and cleared from any counter at the ports of entry.

The KAZA-TFCA univisa was initiated to promote tourism through facilitation of easier and cost effective movement of tourists between Zimbabwe and Zambia to stimulate economic and regional integration. The system is also expected to incorporate Angola, Botswana and Namibia once these countries have finalised modalities in their systems.

19 MAY 2017: Etty Bartenshtein Joins AA Team

Agents Africa is pleased to announce that Etty Bartenshtein has joined Agents Africa Safaris in a consultancy capacity, with specific emphasis on the Israeli inbound market to Africa.

Etty Pic Etty relocated from Israel to Victoria Falls in 2002, having followed her now husband, legendary Zimbabwean wildlife photographer Tom Varley. Etty and Tom have two children and are permanent residents of Victoria Falls.

Etty has extensive experience in tourism in Africa, having organized many safaris to the region, coupled with her infectious enthusiasm; organizational skills and knowledge of the region make her an incredible asset to the Agents Africa team.

Etty will be handling Agents Africa’s Israeli portfolio exclusively, with a home grown and current up to date understanding of the Israeli market, culture and language which will be highly advantageous to any Israeli traveler to Africa.

Contact: etty@agentsafrica.com

Mobile: +263712616874

www.agentsafricasafaris.com

Zimbabwe Visa Information

03 March 2016

Planning a trip to Zimbabwe, or entering Zimbabwe en-route to Botswana or Zambia, a useful link below will give you all the information that you need.

Zimbabwe Visa

Category ‘A’ Nationals do not require a visa

Category ‘B’ Nationals can purchase a visa at the port of entry

Category ‘C’ Nationals have to apply for a visa prior to arrival

Vic Falls Steam Train Re – Launch

IMG_000203 March 2016
Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of being invited to the steam train relaunch, show casing the recent luxurious upgrade to the dining, bar and observation cars.

The steam train, a regular feature of Victoria Falls tourism for many years takes guests on a train ride that hails from a bygone era,  quintessentially colonial with plush furnishings, dark wood interior, well stocked bar where G&T’s are genteelly supped and gourmet snack platters are in abundance.IMG_0011

The experience starts within yards of Victoria Falls hotel, with the 512 Garret huffing, primed, steamed and ready to go. Copper pipes burnished to African sunset brilliance, this old lady of the steam world is lovingly looked after and treated with a respect bordering justified reverence.

IMG_0008A gentle twenty minute ride see’s the train parked on the century old, Cecil Rhodes inspired bridge spanning the Zambezi, with magnificent views of the falls upstream and inspiring downstream views as Africa’s fourth longest river thrashes it’s tumultuous journey on wards to the Indian ocean.

Guests have the opportunity to explore the bridge on foot, marveling at one the greatest engineering feats of the twentieth century location considered, drink in the majesty of the falls, engage with local traders as IMG_0030they ply their wares between Zambia and Zimbabwe and on a good day watch today’s youth fling themselves off the bridge attached to a rubber ‘umbilical’ cord.

For more information, rates, schedules, private hire contact the writer:

John Nicholson

john@agentsafrica.com