A cruise in one of our outboard powered boats will be a rewarding experience whether early in the morning, later in the morning or afternoon going into evening. The choice is yours and our guides will make the appropriate recommendation depending on prevailing conditions. Photographers may not want the sun in their eyes or backlit waters.
There’s always something happening on the river and the breeze out there is quite refreshing particularly on a cloudless and relentlessly sunny day. The river is continually changing and varies in width, speed and depth and the ill defined Zambia border follows the original river course. Wildlife knows no such boundaries and downstream there are national parks on both sides.
There is a rich variety of birds on it’s banks, reedbeds, backwaters and sandy shores particularly when the palearctic migrants are around. You will see the ubiquitous fish eagle or an osprey often taking larger fish from the river and there are myriad kingfishers of all shapes, colours and sizes who are partial to the smaller ones. With a huge variety of waders, storks and herons it’s a twitcher’s paradise with many other interesting distractions.
One is always on the lookout for crocs and the boatman or guide will make sure you are able to get that close-up of the big one before it enters the water. The hippos of course are always around and your guide will know just how close you can safely go. They will always seek the deepest water so it’s wise not to be blocking their way!
Recently there have been sightings and good photos of a cape clawless otter which we hope is managing the crayfish population which we understand is possibly on the increase. The Malawi Blue Crab has recently been seen in the water. There is often something new to consider and our guides’ and boatmens’ enthusiasm is infectious.
All the large mammals come to the river to drink and in the case of elephants to simply frolick in the water. They let you come close enough to get some really amusing pictures of their antics. You will often see lion, buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, water buck and many other larger animals on the river bank as, unlike the elephant, they have a healthy respect for crocs.
Cruises are always stocked with refreshments of your choice and it’s pleasant to enjoy a sundowner on a sandy island with elephant nearby and perhaps have a game of boule before switching on the spotlight to search for those bright eyes in the water and on the banks on the way back to the lodge.
For those who are interested, a trip further upriver will allow you to see the riverside villagers happily fishing, bathing and washing their clothes in the river in the same way as they have for centuries. They seem to know when the crocs are around!