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Zambia and Botswana: Canoe and Safari Adventure

12th Sep 2024 - 22nd Sep 2024

11 days/Zambia /Moderate


Join us on an epic African adventure as we discover the very best of what Zambia and Botswana have to offer.

Spend four days on the lower Zambezi River as you jump into canoes and camp along its banks. Take to the water and explore the territory of wild crocodiles, hippos and elephants.

Travelling through Zambia by water is not only a great personal challenge, but it gives you a unique perspective on the country’s natural beauty, landscapes and wildlife.

After completing your canoe expedition you will transfer to Livingstone, home of magnificent Victoria Falls. Perhaps you will take in its majesty from the air with an optional helicopter or microlight flight or take the plunge for a closer look and take a dive into Devil’s Pool.

This trip will also take you over the border to Botswana as we visit the superb Chobe National Park. Over two days you will take part in two game drives and a river cruise, giving you three fantastic opportunities to spot a wide range of wildlife.

You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.

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A moderate trip. This is due to length of time spent canoeing each day, wide ranging temperatures and basic camping conditions. You should arrive in Zambia with a good fitness level to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions.

You will be accompanied by professional English-speaking, first aid trained guides and support staff. You will also be accompanied throughout by a first aid trained Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The area of the Lower Zambezi River you will visit is quite wide with tree-lined sandy banks either side. September, the dry season, is a good time for animal spotting on the banks of the Zambezi as the inland streams start drying up and animals travel to the river bank for water. As you paddle downstream you are likely to spot plenty of elephants, hippos and crocodiles.

Don’t worry; your local guides will navigate you through the river so you can admire these incredible creatures without disturbing their territory. It is also possible you will spot buffalo, giraffe, the occasional zebra and wildebeest, and if you’re very lucky you may spot a lion or a wild dog.

The Zambian sunrise and sunsets are immeasurably beautiful and the entire landscape changes colour as the sun moves through the sky, reflecting off the calm waters.

September is a great time to visit Zambia. It is still dry season and is starting to get warmer. Temperatures range from 12-30°C, with an average of around 21°C during the day and drop to around 0-8°C at night so it’s important that you bring warm layers for the evenings. The weather should be dry and calm with low water levels on the river.

Although the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

The day starts with a hot breakfast which will comprise produce such as eggs, pancakes, fruit, toast, bacon, sausages etc. with more hot drinks. Lunch is an assortment of cold meats, salads, breads and cheeses, and dinner will involve a main meat dish with vegetables and potatoes rice or pasta.

Dietary requirements can be catered for if we are notified in advance. There is always plenty to do at meal times so get involved and help your guides with preparation.

During the canoe expedition, camp will be set up each night on the banks of the river, or on small islands. You will share three-man tents (two to a tent) which have incorporated mosquito netting. Sleeping bags and thin sleeping mats are provided but you may bring your own mat, for extra comfort.

During your days in Livingstone you will stay at a Jollyboys Backpackers lodge (twin or triple share rooms with shared bathroom facilities), you will camp overnight in tents at Chobe National Park (two to a tent) with mats and blankets provided, and you will stay in small huts at a Eureka lodge in Lusaka on the final night (twin or triple share with en-suite bathroom facilities).

During the canoe expedition, water will be drawn from the river for washing. You are recommended to bring environmentally friendly shampoo and soap products to keep pollutants to a minimum.

Toilet facilities comprise of a hole dug into the ground with a small privacy tent. You should bring your own supply of toilet paper and a small pack of baby wipes for general hygiene throughout the day. Used toilet paper must be packed away into a nappy sack or similar and disposed of in the bin at the campsite; toilet paper (and other litter) should never be left on the ground.

At Jollyboys the bathroom facilities are shared. At Eureka Lodge there will be en-suite facilities.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by an adult). There is no upper age limit. An ideal candidate would be someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone, likes to try new things, has a good level of fitness, is healthy and determined and has a flexible and open minded personality.

You should arrive in Zambia with a good fitness level to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions. Fitness training such as hill walking, swimming, running, cycling, gym workouts, team sports and boot camps etc. are all excellent ways to increase your fitness.

Building your core and upper body strength will benefit you greatly, so you are recommended to include resistance workouts (such as push-ups, squats, planks, lunges, triceps dips, bicep curls etc.) into your routine.

These exercises can be done at home without any specialist equipment. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal etc. Attempting to complete the trip without training may hinder your experience, and the experience of your teammates.

The trip is graded moderate due to the long days canoeing, basic camping conditions and wide ranging temperatures.

No previous canoeing experience is required (although this would be a bonus) but a good level of general fitness is recommended as the days can be long and tiring. Life jackets are supplied. You will paddle approximately 12-28km per day on the river but there are some leisurely stretches where you can soak up the sights and sounds of Africa.

Occasionally you will pull in and walk along the shore, looking out for animals along the way. The water levels on the river stay fairly consistent due to regulation by upstream reservoirs and there are no rapids to contend with.

The canoes are two-man 18-foot Canadian-style fibreglass canoes with containment nets and ropes to ensure both group gear and personal belongings are secure at all times. Each canoe has five buoyancy chambers, while the bucket seats are foam cushioned allowing a reasonable level of back support.

Single bladed paddles are used and life jackets supplied. Anything you need for the canoe trip should be packed into a soft holdall which will be packed into a dry bag (provided). Any luggage not required for on the river (large suitcases, hairdryers etc.) will be stored


Day 1 (Thursday 12 September 2024):

Depart London
Fly overnight from London to Lusaka on an indirect flight.
Meals: None

Day 2 (Friday 13 September 2024):

Lusaka – Lower Zambezi
Arrive in Lusaka where you will be transferred to the Lower Zambezi (approx. three hours) to freshen up, meet the local team for a safety briefing, pack your bags and commence the canoe expedition.
Meals: lunch and dinner

Days 3-5 (Saturday 14 – Monday 16 September 2024):

Lower Zambezi
You will spend three full days on the river in this spectacular natural landscape, paddling downstream each day under the heat of the African sun, and occasionally pulling in to walk along the river bank to spot more wildlife. The days are long so you are advised to have a good level of general fitness, although no previous experience is required.

As you wind your way down the river, home to a wide variety of wildlife, keep your eyes peeled for elephants,hippos and crocodiles. It is also possible you will spot buffalo, giraffe, the occasional zebra and wildebeest, and if you’re very lucky you may spot a lion or a wild dog.

Each night you will camp in tents on the river bank or on small islands for a truly wild African adventure.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 (Tuesday 17 September 2024):

Zambezi – Livingstone
Today we travel to Livingstone (approximately seven hours’ drive, with plenty of stops en-route) and check into Jollyboys, our home for the next two nights.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 (Wednesday 18 September 2024):

Livingstone – Victoria Falls
Today is a free day with a host of optional activities to choose from. Why not take a visit to the incredible Victoria Falls, locally known as Mosi oa-Tunya which means ‘the smoke which thunders’. This 108m vertical chasm is a sight to behold, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Opt to see it from the sky with a helicopter or microlight flight or take a closer look and jump into Devil’s Pool. Additional costs may apply.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 (Thursday 19 September 2024):

Livingstone – Chobe National Park
Today you have an early start as we drive to Botswana (approx. 1.5 hours) to spend the next two days in the magnificent Chobe National Park. Once you have completed your border formalities you will start the day with a three hour river cruise along the Chobe River, famous for its large herds of elephant and buffalo. Look out for baboons and other primates, the stunning fish eagle, goliath heron and openbill stork.

After lunch you will go on an afternoon game drive (10 people per vehicle), where elephants, giraffe, buffalo, zebra and hippo are abundant. It is also common to spot lions and, if you’re lucky, the occasional cheetah or leopard.

After an exhilarating day you transfer to your campsite where your guides and camp cook will prepare a hearty dinner before settling in around the campfire and listening to the sounds of Africa with your team mates.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 (Friday 20 September 2024):

Chobe National Park – Livingstone
Today you have another early start as we take another game drive before saying farewell to Botswana and transferring back to Zambia for our final night at Jollyboys (approx. 1.5 hours). The rest of the day is at leisure.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10 (Saturday 21 September 2024):

Livingstone – Lusaka
You depart Livingstone today and transfer back to Lusaka (approx. six hours’ drive, with plenty of stops en-route). You will arrive at Eureka Lodge this afternoon. Eureka lodge is located on private game park and with wildlife inhabiting the area, it is not unusual to walk around the grounds and spot a giraffe, zebra or herd of impala. We will celebrate our achievements of the week with a farewell barbecue dinner.
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11 (Sunday 22 September 2024):

Lusaka – London
You will transfer to the airport for your return flight to London today, and depending on flight times you may arrive into London the next day.

N.B. Adventure travel can be unpredictable so this itinerary may change due to unusual weather patterns, wildlife movements, and the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the set itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In all such circumstances your guide and tour manager will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £495 and then either…

Self-funded: £3105


Sponsorship: £6210


Flexi: £3105 trip costs and £3105 sponsorship for a charity* of your choice


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel and your fundraising is payable to the charity 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

What's included

  • Return flights from London (including airport taxes and fuel charges)
  • Local transfers and transport in Zambia and Botswana
  • Accommodation (tents while canoeing and at Chobe National Park, rooms in Livingstone and basic huts at a lodge in Lusaka)
  • All meals and drinking water as per itinerary

What's not included

  • Multiple-entry Zambian visa  (current cost US$80)
  • Any necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis
  • Spending money (tips, drinks, souvenirs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal equipment

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.