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Africa has to be one of the best places in the world to enjoy some gentle canoeing, particularly if you like to combine it with game viewing.

We are recommending two particular places for this, one in Zambia and one in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

If you're staying at Tongabezi Lodge or Tangala, you can canoe straight across the Zambezi River to the far bank (on the Zimbabwe side) and navigate your way through the sprinkling of sandy beached islands teeming with bird life, and you're bound to spot something interesting on the Zimbabwe banks.  Buck are frequent visitors to the waters edge, and elephant and hippo are regularly sighted.

Drift on down the Zambezi for a couple of kilometres and you'll eventually arrive at Sindabezi Island where you can moor and stretch your legs.  And, if you don't feel like paddling back (up stream) to your start point, you can hitch a ride in a motor boat back to your base.

Further south, on the east coast of South Africa in a region known as KwaZulu Natal, there's excellent canoe adventures available from your base at Phinda safari lodge.  This is a Big 5 safari destination but, as a change of scene, you can coast smoothly down the Mzinene River in a sturdy canoe disturbed only by the dipping of your oars and the occasional splash of a water bird. Take in the riverine vegetation and the local bird life, and, if you’re lucky, your quiet approach might earn you a choice wildlife sighting as the animals come down to drink.

See also kayaking

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