Boating – safari boats in Africa come in many shapes and sizes, from the mekoros (dug out canoes) found in Botswana through to the more recognisable Canadian style canoes of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools. Here though we are really talking about the outboard engine powered examples, usually seating a maximum of 8-10 guests and often found in the channels cutting through the Selous in Tanzania or the Linyanti swamps and the Okavango Delta channels of Botswana. The boats used on the Shire River in Malawi tend to be the more traditional wooden built types although aluminium is becoming more widespread. Electric powered boats and floating pontoon are becoming more popular currently principally in Botswana, where solar powered camps have the infrastructure to re-charge the batteries.

Boating excursions usually last for a couple of hours and allow you to get closer to elephants, hippos (but not too close), crocodiles (same applies) and to the myriad of water-birds and animals that inhabit the riverine woodlands that fringe Africa’s rivers.

Boating as a way of seeing wildlife is in many ways more pleasant, and certainly easier on you, than sitting in the back of a safari vehicle……………especially if you happen to be in the back row! The wildlife that you see are those that have come to the water’s edge to drink so sightings, although they may be brief, can be spectacular. Boats are though superb for spotting the bird-life and with the engine turned off can be an extremely relaxing and a great way to have your sun-downer.

Top Tips for Boating

  • listen to your boat captains instructions at all times
  • do not stand up
  • do not put your hands in the water – moving bait may attract the wrong sorts!
  • make sure that you take a ruck sack that has some degree of water resistance – just in case.



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