Hello, I am just wondering how safe these safaris are. I have heard of guided canoes (and their occupants) getting destroyed by hippos. I have also heard of crocs jumping out of the water and dragging people under.
Also, is there any need to pre-book these trips? We would like to retain flexibility in our trip. Can we just book a canoe safari when we\'re in Kariba or in the Mana Pools area? Or will we be greatly risking unavailability of canoes/guides?
Thanks so much!
As long as you are with a reputable operator (and getting a license on the Zambezi isn't easy) you'll be fine. Zimbabwean canoe guides need a minimum of 1000 hours before they can take their exam and therefore have a fantastic working knowledge of the river. The Zambian side is also nice although the level of guiding is not as good. Any good Zim operator wont have more than 6-8 people on a trip and will have one canoe guide and an additional apprentice or fully qualified canoe guide.
As far as safety goes, if you follow the guides instructions you should be fine. Hippos are territorial as are crocs and don't go out of there way to bite you. As with any wilderness area the animals are wild and should be treated with respect.
Depending on the time of year you go, you may get onto the river or not if you want to "book on the day". July-September will be harder as it is peak season.
Otherwise, just get a reputable firm and enjoy, it's one of life's great adventures!