A not-so-classic African Safari: Africa’s Greatest Boating & Fishing Safaris
You’ve Safari'd your way through Africa, and now you wonder what else the continent has to offer? While the classic game drive safari – where you get to experience the wonders of the wild from the comfort of a safari vehicle - will forever be the go-to, we’re here to tell you that a boating safari may just be what you are looking for!
If you think Africa is all savanna grasslands, sandy deserts, and dense rainforests, think again! Africa’s waterways have been the lifeforce of the continent since its formation 250 million years ago. Africa’s great rivers have nourished and shaped the rhythm of life for untold generations of riparian peoples, linking cultures across political borders. They were the main form of long-distance transportation for thousands - if not millions - of years, until railways took over from the 1850s onwards. Today, this means that many of Africa’s waterways have become oases of tranquillity, their banks and floodplains teaming with life, as the flow of water provides a reliable source of relief during sweltering summer days and dry, dusty winter nights.
Among the many adventures that Africa’s rivers offer for tourists, boating and fishing safaris stand out as unique experiences that combine the thrill of wild water fishing and exploration with the tranquillity of nature. Africa's waterways hold treasures waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers seeking unforgettable close encounters with wildlife and experience the magic of gliding along a shimmering surface with so many secrets still to be uncovered. These are some of our favourite African waters we’ve explored.
Zambezi River: Adventure and Beauty Combined
Flowing through six countries, the Zambezi River is one of Africa's most adrenaline-inducing waterways. The river is known for its breathtaking waterfalls, with Victoria Falls being the most famous among them. For the adrenaline junkies amongst us, bungee jump over the falls, white water raft the Zambezi, swim in Devils Pool, helicopter flip over the Falls, or enjoy a more leisurely sunset cruise. Boating on the Zambezi offers a unique perspective of “The Smoke That Thunders”, as the Zambezi is so much more than just the Victoria Falls. It pays to stay in one of the stunning lodges situated along its banks, where you can truly submerge yourself in the tranquillity of the current flowing past and watch the wildlife as you float past on a river boat cruise. Fishing enthusiasts can expect to catch tigerfish and bream, making it a paradise for anglers.
Exploring the Great Rift Valley Lakes of East Africa
Africa's Great Rift Valley is home to a series of stunning freshwater lakes, each with its own unique charm. Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, is famous for its untouched shores and unparalleled biodiversity. A boating safari here promises encounters with chimpanzees and other rare wildlife. For the keen fly-fisherman, the remote, high-altitude crater lakes on Mount Kenya are some of the best and most peaceful trout fishing experiences out there. Fishing on the roof of Africa is a bucket-list item for any passionate fisherman! Combined with a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight over Mount Kenya, this is perhaps the most pristine destination in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
The Okavango Delta: A Water Safari Wonderland
If we had to pick the most miraculous African safari destination of all, it would be Botswana’s Okavango Delta, where the 1,000-milelong Okavango River gives up on its search for an outlet to the sea and seeps life into the sands of one of the world’s most uncompromising deserts, creating a vast and mesmerizing oasis. As Frans Lanting wrote in his elegiac book Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden, “The [Delta’s] very existence in the middle of the Kalahari Desert is nothing short of miraculous . . . like a dream.” Here, the seasonal floodwaters create a unique ecosystem that sustains an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, and a variety of bird species. Glide through the labyrinthine channels in traditional mokoro canoes for a serene and intimate experience. There is nothing quite as humbling as coming across a herd of foraging elephants in a human-powered, wooden canoe. From the rustic mokoro, to glass-bottom motorboats with an elevated deck for wildlife spotting, the delta offers something for every boating enthusiast. Fishing in the delta is extremely rewarding, watching a herd of buffalo while beating the resident crocodiles in catching the abundant tilapia and catfish. On your way home, enjoy a well-earned drink, whilst watching the sunset over delta and listening to the rhythmic rumbling of hippos leaving the water to graze on its banks at night.
Deep Sea & Fly Fishing at Africa’s Tropical Islands
Fringed by white sand beaches and sprawling coral reefs, Africa’s Islands are a haven of luxury at the ends of the Earth. In this ultimate destination for modern day explorers, world class luxury meets rare wildlife and extraordinary landscapes. Relax into the barefoot ease, where life is measured in the rise and fall of the tides. The pristine reefs offer superb opportunities for snorkelling and diving. Surrounding ecosystems include beaches, lagoons, bays, and the rich open waters of the Indian Ocean. Other than whale and dolphin watching, turtle watching, kitesurfing, jet skiing, and exciting helicopter flights, fly-fishing and deep sea fishing are some of the top-activities for water lovers. Get your pulse racing as you reel in a mighty marlin, sailfish or kingfish and then do it all again the next day as you aim to catch tuna, dorado, wahoo or the feisty barracuda. To optimise your chances of success, choose one of our recommended island destinations. Strict regulations apply, so if you are planning to go on a deep-sea fishing excursion, make sure to let us know so we can make all arrangements beforehand!
Africa's Rivers and Waterways have it all!
Whether you are keen to embark on a unique boating and fishing safari or just want to explore its waterways as part of a traditional safari, Africa’s rivers are a prime destination for those looking for intimate wildlife encounters. Beyond the savannas, Africa's rivers offer tranquillity and excitement. Stunning lodges along the banks of the Zambezi River provide a serene base for fishing, with prized catches like tigerfish. Mount Kenya's crater lakes offer peaceful trout fishing in some of the world’s most remote fishing destinations – some only reachable by helicopter. Botswana's Okavango Delta is a wildlife haven created by floodwaters, where gliding through the multitude of channels offers one of Africa’s most tranquil escapes. To top it all off, Africa’s island destinations offer world-class deep-sea and fly fishing just next to some of the planet’s richest coral reefs.
Let’s discover your favourite fishing destination! Contact us to enquire about a fishing & boating safari.
Written by Evelyn Poole