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The Zambezi Expedition

 
Thirty years ago the Zambezi River in all its guises — waterfalls, crashing rapids, lakes, a meandering delta and a life giving waterway — inspired the birth of Africa Exclusive. We’ve been on a pretty amazing journey ever since.

To celebrate our milestone birthday, in May and June 2020 we will explore the entire 1,600 mile length of the Zambezi as it makes its way through six African countries — and we’re inviting you to join us! The journey from its trickling source at Mwinilunga to the immense delta on the Mozambique coast will be in six, week-long (or so) sections, each expertly guided, professionally equipped and hosted by a senior member of our team.
There is space for eight adventurous guests to join us on each section. Some will involve hikes, rafting and canoeing. Like the river itself, some sections will be more leisurely. Where safari lodges exist we will stay there, if not we will camp. However, this is Africa Exclusive, and wherever you are there will be the best support, delicious food, a comfortable bed and civilised facilities. You will meet the people of the Zambezi and enjoy fascinating talks by local experts on wildlife, geology, culture and history.

As well as an opportunity to venture into Africa’s wild places, the focus of the expedition is giving back and our partner charities Send a Cow, TUSK and the Northampton Saints Foundation will join us along the way.

If you are interested in being a part of our great adventure, please do give us a call at your earliest convenience.

We look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you on the river.
Canoeing in Liuwa Plain National Park's seasonal floodplains from King Lewanika
Sioma Falls in western Zambia
Couple looking at Victoria Falls from viewpoint
Guests and guide from Bumi Hills on shore of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
Boat safari near large bull elephant, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
African fish eagle flying in to catch fish in Zambezi River
Traditional sailing dhow by mangroves in Mozambique river
Zebras near jeep on game drive in Masai Mara with TrustPilot five star rating
Close up shot of African safari guide Rob Janisch
Expert safari guide Tyrone McKeith
Guide and travel marketer Honour Schram de Jong
Expert safari guide Phil Jeffery
Expert safari guide Fraser Gear
African woman gardening in agricultural garden supported by Send a Cow charity
Mother and baby elephant in Zambia
Africa Exclusive's Zambezi Expedition - people canoeing on Zambezi River with elephant in background
Canoeing in Liuwa Plain National Park's seasonal floodplains from King Lewanika
 
Tucked within an area of Miombo Forest, the origins of the Zambezi River may seem humble, yet they have been preserved as a national monument, signifying the importance of Africa’s fourth largest river to the country in which its journey begins. This first part of the expedition includes a safari in one of Zambia’s most remote national parks, going behind the scenes of lion conservation, a flight over the river’s dramatic course through Angola and a personal insight into the history of the Lozi people, who have for centuries inhabited the Zambezi’s lush floodplains.
 
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Sioma Falls in western Zambia
 
As the Zambezi flows through Barotseland, it is at its most serene, with expanses of gently moving water and islands surrounded by floodplains. We begin with a safari along the Chobe River, which feeds into the mighty Zambezi, then fly low over the Barotse floodplains. Here we gain a unique perspective on the region from the air before taking to the river by motorboat. At night, a combination of comfortable lodges and traditional mobile camps echo the Barotse’s diversity. As do our experiences; a hike to Sioma Falls, an afternoon in a traditional fishing village and game viewing in Sioma Ngwesi.
 
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Couple looking at Victoria Falls from viewpoint
 
Gaining momentum as it wends through the gorge, this once serene river plunges over Victoria Falls, descending in mighty zig-zagging rapids before entering Lake Kariba. We begin with an exciting safari in Botswana’s Chobe National Park before making our way to the idyllically situated Tongabezi Lodge. While there, we visit Tujatane School where former Northampton Saints and England forward, Steve Thompson, will introduce pupils to the game of rugby. An afternoon tracking rhino on foot is followed by a morning of canoeing as we approach “The Smoke That Thunders”. This section of our journey is wonderfully diverse, from gin tasting overlooking Victoria Falls to white water rafting, hiking and a spectacular helicopter flight over the vast, basalt gorge.
 
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Guests and guide from Bumi Hills on shore of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
 
We traverse the evocatively beautiful Lake Kariba, spending three days on a houseboat heading east along a shoreline fringed by petrified trees. During the journey we safari by boat and hear how Tusk supports the Painted Dog Conservation. Returning to land, we explore Matusadona, one of Zimbabwe’s finest national parks and learn about the heroics of Operation Noah. Passing the dam wall we head towards the Lower Zambezi, camping each night on an island in the river. During these few days we have the privilege to see the beginnings of a conservation project, eradicating hunting and forming protected wildlife conservancies.
 
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Boat safari near large bull elephant, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
 
The river now flows along the entire Lower Zambezi National Park, where we enjoy an unforgettable river safari. The Zambezi is then joined by the Luangwa River before broadening into Lake Cahora Bassa. We meet the outgoing team at Tamarind Lodge, then journey downstream to Chiawa Camp, home of the Cumings family, for two nights. We hear about the work of Tusk supported Conservation Lower Zambezi and the 30 years’ history of Chiawa Camp. Then safari by canoe and foot to the charming Old Mondoro for two nights before continuing to Anabezi where we are inspired by Send a Cow’s work in Zambia. We conclude our safari odyssey by motorboat through the spectacular Mupata Gorge to Redcliff Lodge near the Mozambique border.
 
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African fish eagle flying in to catch fish in Zambezi River
 
While this may seem a somewhat negative view of the beginning of the Zambezi’s journey through Mozambique, I assure you that we are excited about our voyage across the vast Lake Cahora Bassa. In time we may open this section up for you to join us, but of course we must make sure it will be worth your while. If you are a keen angler…watch this space.
Traditional sailing dhow by mangroves in Mozambique river
 
As our expedition nears its end, this final section begins with a light aircraft flight into the Gorongosa National Park. One of Africa’s most biodiverse regions, after years of civil war, Gorongosa is once again a haven for wildlife. Following this unique safari, we begin our journey to the river, exploring the lush forests of the region as we go, and stopping for a night to visit a reforestation programme. Arriving at the river, we are immersed in history as we visit the site of Mary Livingstone’s grave and the Sugar Mill at Marromeu. Our final few days take us through the Zambezi Delta, a land of tranquil waterways, savannah islands, mangroves and rich forests, which we explore by dhow, foot and canoe, camping each night until we reach the Indian Ocean.
 
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Zebras near jeep on game drive in Masai Mara with TrustPilot five star rating
 
We are a boutique safari specialist, established 30 years ago in Northampton, England. We are owned and inspired by the original founders. Our passion is to enable our international clientele to experience the extraordinary wildness and beauty of the Africa we know and love, as well as to conserve precious wildlife and fragile habitats for future generations. We’d love to speak with you about joining us on our epic expedition or designing a unique safari holiday just for you.
 
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Close up shot of African safari guide Rob Janisch
 
It was over a year ago that we first picked up the phone to Rob Janisch to tell him of our plan to celebrate 30 years of arranging unforgettable African safaris with an epic expedition. Stretches of this incredible river were still unknown to us and Rob has been an integral part of our planning team from the start.
 
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Expert safari guide Tyrone McKeith
 
With his partner at Jeffery & McKeith, Phil Jeffery, who you’ll hear more about later, Tyrone McKeith is a dynamic member of Africa’s next generation of conservationists. And indeed, his first reactions to our asking if he would be interested in joining us on our expedition were thus focused.
 
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Guide and travel marketer Honour Schram de Jong
 
When it comes to arranging an expedition of this magnitude, as with so many things in life, who you know is as important as what you know. As someone whose opinion we trust as though she were a member of our own team, Honour has been a fantastically honest sounding board as we forged forward with our plans.
 
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Expert safari guide Phil Jeffery
 
Business partner and close friend of the aforementioned Tyrone McKeith, Phil Jeffery is the other half of Jeffery & McKeith Safaris, and a firm favourite with Africa Exclusive clients.
 
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Expert safari guide Fraser Gear
 
This final section of the Zambezi River is perhaps the most remote and unexplored. Indeed, from a high-end tourism perspective the same could be said of this entire region of Mozambique. Not without their troubles over the years, areas such as the Gorongosa National Park and the rich forests which sit between it and the Zambezi River are fascinating, biodiverse regions that we cannot wait to explore. And, in true Africa Exclusive style, we will do so in the company of the man whose wealth of experience makes him best placed to lead us.
 
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African woman gardening in agricultural garden supported by Send a Cow charity
 
The idea for our Zambezi Expedition began with a suggestion that we should take part in a challenge during our 30th year to raise money for causes close to our hearts. As the centre piece of our anniversary celebrations, the expedition has the potential to raise significant funds and awareness for our three chosen charities. In addition to raising funds through sponsorship, we will also be raising awareness via a media campaign with an esteemed publication, documenting our progress with reports, photographs, podcasts and video.
 
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Mother and baby elephant in Zambia
 
We have set up our fundraising with Virgin Money Giving, which allows us to raise money for all three of our charities through one campaign. In addition, there is the opportunity for those travelling with us to set up their own fundraising page, should they wish, and link this to ours. By connecting our individual endeavours, we can be encouraged by each other’s successes and see the greater result of our collective efforts.

Click here to donate.
 
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Africa Exclusive's Zambezi Expedition - people canoeing on Zambezi River with elephant in background
 
Do you have a friend or family member who you think may be interested in joining us on the river for a section (or more)? Get a link to our shareable brochure to easily share our pioneering expedition with them.
 
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