I’ve recently come back from an extraordinary canoe safari.
It was a three-day trip along the Selinda Spillway, a wild and glorious channel that links Botswana’s Okavango Delta with the Kwando and Linyanti water systems.
We paddled for three to five hours a day, gliding through the waterways and stealing up on hippos, crocodiles and elephants, often without being observed. Being on the water puts you right among the wildlife, giving you a more intimate relationship with the animals and your surroundings. Time to notice the colourful reed frogs and bountiful birdlife. And there’s a tremendous satisfaction about powering yourself through the bush.
Days started early, exploring this remote corner of Botswana on foot, before embarking on the next stretch of river. At the end of each day we’d hop out of the canoes and walk straight into camp for fireside drinks and dinner. The gentle exercise seemed to drug us into an extraordinary feeling of contentment. And the camps were perfect - just the simple comfort and great food we needed after a day of paddling. I came back with a glow of well-being. It’s given me a real taste for further canoe adventures.
In contrast to these three days of gentle immersion, a morning canoeing on the legendary Lower Zambezi offered a different level of excitement on a subsequent trip.
The Chifungulu Channel below Potato Bush Camp is just under 10 miles long and it’s some of the best canoeing in Africa. It’s like a three hour highlight reel of a canoe safari. The Zambezi is doing all the work, carrying you downstream. The wildlife is unbelievable. You might see a couple of hundred hippo in a morning, looking quizzically up at you from just a few metres away. We even heard a leopard cough, just out of sight, as the impala on the bank exploded into a frenzy of panicked alarm.
It’s a great place to whet your appetite for a longer boat trip.
Click link below to view more images from Michael's experience on the Selinda Canoe Trail:
Click link below to view images from Michael's trip to Potato Bush: