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A river safari

A river safari

Safari holidays are wildly popular but it you want to make your next safari holiday an unforgettable bush experience you may want to consider a river safari. Here’s why…

Great game viewing. Rivers are essential to sustaining life in the bush, and their oasis of greenery amid the dry bush attracts high concentrations of wildlife in search of water. For you as a river safari game viewer, this means incredible game viewing up close with the Big 5 and more. Depending on the season, you may be lucky enough to see new-born impala, wildebeest and zebra drinking from the river. Predator sightings are also more frequent near the water, so you may have a better chance of seeing lions, rare packs of wild dogs and elusive leopards stalk their prey.

  • Victoria Falls River Safaris offer cruises to amazing parts of the Zambezi that have previously been out of reach. Enjoy the thrill of speeding over rapids then slowing down for a leisurely game viewing trip around the islands. Visit

A unique perspective. Watching game from the water instead of land gives you unique (and often much more close up) view of the game descending there to drink and play. Being so close to the animals that stay in one place as they drink makes for fantastic photographic opportunities too.

  • Okavango River Safaris are a nostalgic but classic way of exploring Africa’s wilderness. Experience the Okavango Delta and its huge floodplain with its waterways and islands, unspoilt by humans and filled with grunting hippo, crocs other wildlife and birdlife. Visit

Year-round sightings. During the dry winter months when the inland watering holes dry up, vast numbers of animals descend on the river to drink. If you’re on a river safari, this means a front row seat for game viewing. You’ll also be much more likely to see year-round riverine wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos.

  • On a 15-seater Hippo & Croc Boat Cruise while in St Lucia you’ll get up close and personal with hippos, Nile crocodiles and hundreds of bird species that are residents of the estuary. Visit

Great for elephant viewings. Elephants love water and can often be seen swimming and frolicking in the river – sometimes in huge herds. On a river safari, you’re in the perfect position to see elephants of all ages, whether it’s new-borns taking their first dip or older males asserting their dominance among each other.

  • A guided Addo River Safari is a birdwatcher’s and nature lover’s paradise. Guests get to explore a different side of Addo and view game and birds on the riverbank while drifting down some of the most scenic parts of the Sunday’s River in comfortable and safe canoes (no paddling experience needed). Visit

It’s tranquil. A river safari where you float down the river in a houseboat (or tender boat if you’re on a day expedition) with the engine turned off, makes for a really tranquil game viewing experience. And the quieter you are, the less disturbance there is, which means it’s more likely you’ll be able to hear and spot the incredibly varied game and birdlife that surrounds you.

A more relaxed holiday. A traditional land-based safari typically means a very early morning start, as you head off on game drives before the sun rises for the best chance of spotting game. On a river safari, you’ll enjoy a later start, as animals come down to the water after sunrise. If you’re truly looking to relax and recharge while you’re in the bush, this is a major bonus!

A more personal experience. Because a river safari is relatively unusual, there’s minimal congestion on the river compared with a land-based safari, where you could be surrounded by a dozen other vehicles gathered around a sighting. This makes it that much more exclusive and personal as far as safari experiences go.

  • Companies like the Zambezi Queen Collection offer incredible houseboat safaris. With only a small number of guests per boat, staying on one of their three Chobe Princesses is like being on your very own houseboat. The entire boat can also be booked exclusively, giving you your own private villa on the water.

It’s fishing heaven. If you’re on a river such as the Chobe in Botswana, this means world class fishing opportunities right on your doorstep. Depending on when you go, you can try your hand at catching tiger fish, bream, African pike, tilapia, catfish or upper Zambezi yellow fish from the comfort of your water-based accommodation.

Great birdwatching. While spotting big game is undoubtedly the highlight of going on safari, birdwatching in the bush is hugely rewarding too. Being on a river safari means you’re close to the large numbers of bird species that live on and near rivers – and, during the wet season, huge migrations mean the bird population increases even further. Look out for fish eagles, storks and ibises.

  • Wilderness River Safaris offer leisurely boat cruises on the Touw River aboard an eight-seater safari style longboat with canvas canopy. Spectacular scenic beauty, aquatic and forest bird life, and luxury homes along the river make this a very enjoyable and interesting trip for people of all ages. Visit





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