The Zambezi Valley Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Trip Code:
Activity Rating - Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

10 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

An exciting trip perfect for those wishing to encounter the spectacular wildlife and incredible scenery of Zambia in as intimate and active a way as possible. The mighty Zambezi is an excellent location for a canoe safari. Camping out on secluded beaches, the days are spent relishing magnificent scenery and abundant game, while passing the ever-present basking crocodiles and hippo pods. Away from the water there is also plenty of time for game walks and drives to experience the diverse wildlife and remarkable scenery this region has to offer.

At a Glance

  • 4 nights semi-participatory camping with either limited or no facilities, 3 nights camping in tented camp with shared facilities
  • Travel by open canoes on the Zambezi River
  • No previous experience necessary

Trip Highlights

  • Experience the peace and tranquillity of canoeing on the Zambezi
  • Camp out under the stars on secluded islands
  • Game drives in Chiawa Game Management Area, renowned for its elephant sightings
  • Game walks and canoeing in the Lower Zambezi National Park

Is This Trip for You?

This is generally a comfortable participatory safari but, as it goes through some wild country, you should come prepared to be flexible and expect delays or inconvenience.
Travel is by Canadian-style 18ft. two-person canoes and open backed safari vehicle. No previous experience is necessary but you should have a reasonable level of fitness on what is an active trip. An ability to swim is recommended.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
Min group size:
Max group size:


Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Lusaka; transfer to the Zambezi River.

    After the arrival of the group flight in the early afternoon, we transfer to the Zambezi River. Most of this road transfer to the start of the safari is on tar road with the last section of the journey being along a bush dirt track making a change to a 4WD vehicle is necessary. Depending on the time we arrive at the Zambezi River we will cross over to our evening campsite on Nyamumba island by canoe or motor boat . Dinner is prepared by the guide.
    Please note: Clients must not book flights arriving after 12PM.
    Accommodation: Wild Camping
    Semi-participatory Camping

    Meals included:
  • Days 2-4

    Three days canoeing and wildlife watching on the Zambezi River, camping on remote islands.

    We have three days canoeing with early starts as it is often better to canoe in the early hours when it is not so hot, and more importantly, when the easterly head wind is at its weakest. The pace is gentle to allow us to make the most of wildlife viewing opportunities. We look out for elephant feeding on the banks, basking crocodiles and numerous colourful bird species including the magnificent African Fish eagle. The list of species we spot may include buffalo, baboon, Vervet monkey, Pied kingfisher, Goliath heron, Carmine Bee eaters and maybe even lion! We will frequently pass pods of hippo basking in the deeper water who will no doubt be keeping an eye on us! There are few signs of human habitation throughout our time on the river. Lunches and breakfasts are either taken on islands or on the banks of the river.

    Accommodation: Wild Camping
    Semi-participatory Camping

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    Morning canoeing; afternoon game walk and drive in Game Management Area.

    We canoe to the Chiawa Game Management Area, which is situated 18 kms from the Lower Zambezi National Park just opposite the Mana Pools, where we spend the night in our fly camp based on mainland. This is an area rich in wildlife and is renowned for the numerous elephant sightings. It is also home to warthog, waterbuck, impala, kudu, and rare Samango monkeys, with many riverene bird species including the Lilac-breasted roller. We have an afternoon game walk or game drive through the reserve where we hope to spot other nocturnal species such as genet, civet, hyena, porcupine, aardvark and if really lucky, the elusive leopard.

    Accommodation: Fly Camp in Game Management Area
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included:
  • Day 6

    Canoe to Lower Zambezi N.P.; morning game walk; afternoon game drive back to camp.

    Today we canoe from the Chiawa Game Management Area into the Lower Zambezi National Park (approximately 8km downstream). We have a morning game walk with a guide, and then have lunch in the park under the shade of the trees or on the banks of the Zambezi River. After lunch we will be taken on a game drive through the park back to our fly camp on the banks of the river in Game Management Area. If river water levels are too high in the winter months (May – July), due to excess water being released from Lake Kariba, we may use a boat transfer as certain road crossing may be flooded.

    Accommodation: Fly Camp in Game Management Area
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included:
  • Day 7

    Transfer to our riverside camp.

    We are transferred by road from our bush camp in the Game Management Area to Zambezi Breezes today. Should river conditions necessitate we may use a boat transfer back to Zambezi Breezes where required.

    Accommodation: Zambezi Breezes or similar
    Semi-participatory Camping

    Meals included:
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Lusaka; end.

    An early start today; after breakfast we transfer approximately 4-5 hrs to Lusaka where our tour ends in the late morning. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the flight to London.

    Meals included:



On this tour we spend 4 nights camping in two-man dome tents and 3 nights in a set up bush camps with showers, toilets and large tents.

The camping is semi-participatory as participants are asked to assist with camp chores and you will have to erect and dismantle your own tents whilst on the canoeing safari. Most nights are spent wild camping with no facilities provided. All camping equipment is provided.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners included.

Meals are prepared for you but group members are asked to assist in preparation and washing up.

Typical meals

Breakfast: Cereals or coffee and toast plus a fried breakfast on most days.

Lunch: Fresh salads, cold meats, cheese, bread, condiments, fruit.

Evening meal: Biggest meal of the day, stews, pasta, curry, local cuisine.

Vegetarians can be catered for but given the difficulties of preparing different meals while wild camping, the variety of food may be limited.

Please indicate special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies) when booking. We will supply the following drinks: fruit squash served throughout, and tea or coffee served with breakfast and dinner.

There is always a plentiful supply of chlorinated water available (sometimes even chilled!) and we encourage you to drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

All other beverages will be at your own expense and can be purchased at the supermarket in Lusaka prior to travelling to the river.


Travel is by Canadian-style 18ft two-person canoes. Transport on land is in a minibus or landcruiser for road transfers and safaris.

Travelling conditions

Most of the roads in Zambia are reasonably well maintained, however some stretches have a few potholes and rough surfaces depending on the previous rainy season. Some travel will be on unsurfaced roads, some of which are quite dusty and bumpy (e.g. during the game drives).


Exodus and its staff strive to insure client safety and take all necessary precautions. On certain sections of this itinerary we are likely to come into proximity of several different species of wildlife along this natural water course. These mainly include hippo, elephant, buffalo and occasionally crocodiles whilst on the water, along with a variety of other game whilst on foot. As all wildlife is potentially dangerous it is important to heed all advice given to you by the guide and to follow instructions accordingly.

Life jackets are available for those who would like to wear them.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

With its exceptionally mild winters Zambia is best enjoyed during the dry season. This period extends from May to early November. The days are generally dry, hot and sunny with day time highs around 25ºC, however nights can be cool (down to 10ºC). From June to August it can be exceptionally cold. September and October are the hottest months where daytime highs are regularly 35º+ and temperatures at night can be in the low to mid 20s. Rainfall is generally confined between the months of November and April. Rains normally occur as heavy showers, but they tend to clear rapidly with sunshine still predominant.

Weather Charts

Lusaka, Zambia

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 10 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Ethiopian Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Lusaka

Your trip normally starts at the airport in Lusaka in the late morning of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details



Location start:
Location end:

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Neutral coloured clothes (for the game walks)
Comfortable walking shoes that will not be ruined if they get wet (rafting sandals are ideal footwear for canoeing)
Sun hat with a wide brim to ensure the back of your neck is shaded (as there is sometimes a strong headwind on the river, a hat with a chin strap is advisable)
Sun cream
Insect repellent
Light rainwear
Some warmer clothes for the winter months and after sundown
Swimming costume and lightweight trek towel
A long-sleeved shirt with collar and some lightweight long trousers for wearing in the evenings to keep insects off and to protect yourself from too much sun.
A water bottle (minimum 1 litre) (A flask will enable you to keep water cool)
A lightweight daypack with plastic liner or drysack for keeping any items you need to hand whilst canoeing (e.g. camera, suncream, water)
June to August, bring a warm fleece and possibly woolly hat.

Please note you will need a smaller bag to take 5-7kgs of stuff with you on the canoe safari - your main luggage will be sent to the fly camp where you will have it after the canoe safari finishes. It is best to have this smaller bag already packed before arrival as there is not much time on the river to repack before the canoeing starts.  it is also best to pack enough clothes for the first three nights on the river in your carry-on bag, as well as any needed medication, as if luggage is delayed it can take time for it to catch-up with the group. Given that the luggage will need to be transported by vehicle to the river and then by boat to catch up with the group, it can be quite a lengthy process.

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn't yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re‐fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.
We provide the sleeping bags, which come with clean liners and a small pillow. 1-inch Styrofoam mattresses are also provided. Most people find these perfectly adequate, however anyone who wishes to bring their own sleeping bags are welcome.

If you would like to help under privileged Zambian school children please consider packing some basic educational supplies that our partner Charity Baraka Community Partnerships ( will distribute to the Schools and Children that they support. Second hand items are fine such as: note books, pens, pencils, colouring pens, paper, young children's reading books, primary school text books, rulers, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, flash cards. Also needed are footballs, tennis balls, net balls, young children's clothes and shoes. 

Just leave them with your tour guide before you head down the river and Baraka will do the rest.    

Practical Information



All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.



British, European, N. American, Australian and New Zealand passport holders require a visa to enter Zambia. Single entry visas are available at all ports of entry. The visa fee for British nationals is currently USD50 for a single entry visa.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit:

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Zambia's Timezone:
Africa/Lusaka CAT (GMT +02:00)


Zambia's Electricity:

230 Volts. Plug types C,D & G; establishments often take two round pin plugs and/or UK style plugs.


Zambia's Currency

The national currency of Zambia is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMW), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (September 2017) of approximately 12.2 to the GBP, 9.2 to the USD, 7.6 to the CAD, 11.1 to the EUR, 7.4 to the AUD and 6.7 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

On arrival at Lusaka airport you are strongly advised to take the opportunity to change some money into Kwacha as this is one of the few opportunities you will have to obtain local currency. 

Bureau De changes are readily available throughout Lusaka where money can be easily exchanged. ATMs are only available in Lusaka.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

There is not much opportunity for spending money on this trip but you may wish to allow allow approx. US$2-3 per day for drinks and incidentals.


Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Our guides do work hard and can be tipped if you feel they have done a good job or gone above the call of duty. Tipping is not compulsory and should only be given if you feel you received exemplary service. Although entirely optional, we suggest that you budget approximately US$25 in total on this itinerary to be broken down as follows: Approximately: US$15 for your senior river guide / tour leader.

Approximately: US$5 for the assistant guide

Approximately: US$5 for members of staff at the fly mainland camp sites and drivers

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.


Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.



The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.


These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.