Water based safaris
Discover Africa’s wildlife from the water on a safari with a difference
Travelling by boat or being ‘poled’ in a traditional mokoro offers a completely different safari experience from a conventional 4x4 game drive. Africa’s rivers and lakes support an abundance of wildlife, and a water-based safari is the perfect way to explore. From your boat or canoe, you’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife from a different vantage point and often, in a much closer proximity. The wetlands and floodplains attract a diverse array of birdlife and fish, and are also superb habitats for crocodile, hippo and less common wildlife like the Red Lechwe and Waterbuck antelope. More traditional big game like buffalo and elephants can also be found grazing on the riverbanks and wading into the water to cool down.
Water-based safaris are more tranquil and slower-paced in comparison to a traditional safari. In landlocked Botswana, the Okavango Delta is an enchanting wetland that lies at its heart. A maze of intricate waterways and islands, the delta is a stunning landscape to explore by mokoro – a streamlined dugout canoe that offers a relaxing and intimate way to meander the shallow floodplains. In Tanzania, the Selous Game Reserve offers a more sedate and authentic alternative to its popular Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks. On the Rufuji River, Selous offers beautiful boating safaris and sundowner river cruises that are great ways to spot the large numbers of hippo and crocodile that take sanctuary on its banks.
With us, you can stay at safari camps and lodges that sit right on the water’s edge. Not only will you have the privilege to view river game from your own private terrace or pool, but most also provide their own water-based excursions. In Chobe National Park, the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge offers exclusive sundowner cruises in specially designed riverboats. A stunning way to watch an African sunset, it is likely you’ll spot a sable or roan antelope, or see a buffalo coming out to graze in the cooler evening. On the Great Ruaha River in Tanzania, the Azura Selous lodge offers an exclusive water-safari in their specialist lightweight boat. Taking only four people at any one time, this is a great way to discover the river’s wildlife and appreciate the tranquillity of the surrounding environment.
Explore the Okavango Delta by mokoro canoe
The Okavango Delta in northern Botswana is an enchanting stretch of serene waterways dotted with tiny islands, a 6000-square mile expanse that is one of the world's largest inland deltas. The region teems with birds plus large and small game which flock from the surrounding plains to feed and water in this bountiful oasis, a lush green corner bordered by the less hospitable Kalahari Desert.
For generations the locals have traversed this landscape via dug-out canoes called mokoros. These shallow wooden boats are perfectly designed to navigate the winding waterways of the delta. Propelled by long poles, mokoros are quiet, environmentally friendly and cause minimal disruption to local flora and fauna. Their discreet nature makes a canoe safari the ideal way to get close to wildlife while enjoying the peace of this scenic area.
Spot big game at the water's edge
The Okavango Delta attracts a wide variety of animal and bird species and offers some of Botswana's best game viewing opportunities. Aside from the famous 'Big Five' (African elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo), you can also spot water-dwelling creatures such as hippopotamus and crocodile, as well as herds of graceful antelope, packs of African wild dogs, and the occasional appearance by the likes of baboons, cheetahs and hyenas.
Most animals congregate during the dry months between May and November, so this is the best time for spotting game on your canoe safari. However, birders take note - the delta is also home to over 400 species of birds, many which are best viewed during the rainier season between December and March.
Relax in style after a day on the water
A mokoro canoe safari can be included in a number of our Botswana safari holidays, giving you an unsurpassed choice of activities and accommodation for the duration of your experience. Whether you choose to stay at an authentic African bush camp or an elegant luxury lodge, your local Kuoni destination expert can help you choose a safari that combines the best of outdoor adventure with world-class service and relaxation in spectacular surroundings.
Great migration safaris
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Big Five safaris
The Big Five refers to Africa’s most dangerous animals: the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino.Read more
There’s something special about these gentle giants. Spot huge herds on safari, or visit the remarkable Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage.Read more
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see mountain gorillas in their natural environment. Welcome to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.Read more
Spend time with chimpanzees in the mountainous Nyungwe Forest as they feed, play and swing through the vines.Read more
Safaris over water
Travelling by boat or being ‘poled’ in a traditional mokoro offers a completely different safari experience from a 4x4 game drive.Read more
Our Africa brochure is a collection of iconic and authentic tailor-made holidays throughout Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Our dedicated escorted touring brochure features a collection of small group safaris throughout Kenya and Tanzania.View online or order by post