Zambezi Explorer

Zambezi Explorer

Explore the Zambezi River and the game parks of Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana!

Starting in 1989, Bio Bio co owners Marc and Laurence spent three back to back seasons working as full time guides on the Zambezi River and have more than 200 descents of the river! We forged life long friendships and partnerships with many of the locals during that time. Since then we have returned almost every year with our groups and our welcoming is like a warm homecoming. You too will be thrilled by the exceptionally friendly hospitality that is part of a proud and rich cultural tradition.

The Zambezi is a quintessential African river as it meanders from Angola to the Indian ocean. There are few rivers anywhere with as much fun and huge white water as the warm and friendly waters of the mighty Zambezi! August thru October are the best months to see game and experience the Zambezi. It is the end of the dry season and many animals come down to the banks of the river to drink, swim and frolic in the shallows. In our Canoes we will drift and paddle amongst the animals, merging ourselves deeply with raw, unfiltered nature. The “bush” has been either eaten or has died down, so seeing the animals is much easier. In the wet season there is so much fresh green foliage that the animals hide in the thicket or scatter to drinking holes hidden far away from the dirt trails that we stick to.

Zimbabwe and Botswana are the countries that we visit to explore the many facets of the Zambezi watershed in this region. There is a rich history of game viewing and preservation in this uniquely “veldt” like terrain. Botswana boasts a highly developed and protected national park system. This has allowed the wildlife to thrive and the elephant herds of Botswana and Zimbabwe are among the largest and most protected of Africa. The game viewing in this area is simply the best, and you will not be over run by the herds of tourists often found in East Africa. We look forward to sharing this spectacular “once in a life time” type of adventure with you. Your African dreams await…your desire to explore unleashed!

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1
Arrive at Kasane International Airport (BBK), Botswana. Airport transfer to Chobe Savanna Lodge. Group briefing and 4PM Sunset Cruise. Welcome! Overnight at Chobe Savanna Lodge. (D)

Day 2-3
Guests can choose morning, afternoon or evening game drives to get their first look at the abundance of African wildlife. Overnight at Chobe Savanna Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 4
Game activity at Chobe Savanna Lodge, followed by breakfast/brunch, followed by a leisurely drive to the park to start the canoe safari. (B,L,D)

Day 5
We paddle downstream and hope to see abundant wildlife along the river, and enjoy safe-to-bathe swimming holes. Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)

Day 6
We paddle all morning watching for more game and running more fun rapids! Take out upstream from Devil’s Cataract at the stunning Old Drift Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 7
Time to raft the big river! Boiling Pot just below the Falls to our beach camp below Rapid Number 21. Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)

Day 8
We hike out of the gorge and take on open air vehicle back to the falls and raft 1-21 again!  Overnight camping. (B,L,D)

Day 9
Now we are “self-supported” as we raft deeper into the Batoka Gorge, running Wake up call, Open and Closed Season, and upper Moimba Falls. Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)

Day 10
Early wake up to take advantage of cool morning air and float down to the second waterfall we have to portage, known as Chibango Falls. On the trip back, we will get to see the remote countryside and small villages. Visit a local School and a chance to hand out school supplies and any other gifts we bring from USA. Overnight at Elephant Camp. (B,L,D)

Day 11
Enjoy a motorboat and short hike to Livingstone Island. Jump into the Devil’s Pool! Afternoon activities at Elephant camp or take a trip back to Victoria Falls for some adventure activities and/or souvenir shopping. (B,L,D)

Day 12
Transfer to Victoria Falls Airport for travel home, or to another destination in Africa! (B)

Day 1 – Arrival
Arrive in Kasane Airport, Botswana early afternoon. Chobe Savanna Lodge is located in the Eastern Zambezi Region of Namibia. It is perfectly set on the banks of the Chobe River with spectacular views of Botswana’s Chobe National Park. The lodge is accessed by boat via the town of Kasane (Botswana). Our guides will meet you at the Kasane border and assist you with the simple border procedures before transporting you away from the bustling town of Kasane to remote location for which Chobe Savanna Lodge is renowned.

You will have a chance to rest and freshen up before we rendezvous at the bar for a welcome drink and briefing. Our trip leader will give us an overview of what excitement lies ahead!

At 4 pm, we will board our vessel for a relaxing sunset cruise to enjoy a few drinks while looking for game and will enjoy the beautiful and abundant bird life. Our first African sunset to be enjoyed with our fellow Zambezi explorers while we gently drift amongst the Hippo pods will be unforgettable! (D)

The Lodge
Chobe Savanna Lodge is set in a classic African Savanna environment of sweeping vistas. The focal point of the lodge is a thatched, open-sided main building that features a 270 degree view over the Chobe River and beyond to the Chobe National Park.

Attractive gardens featuring a secluded swimming pool further enhance the lodge’s enviable location. In addition to the scheduled game-viewing activities, Chobe Savanna Lodge is also a perfect venue for guests to simply take time out to watch the natural world go by in one of the most spectacular settings imaginable.

Accommodations
A private and secluded safari experience is guaranteed as Chobe Savanna Lodge accommodates only twenty six guests in beautifully furnished thatched chalets, each with a private deck, an integrated bedroom and lounge area and en-suite facilities. Every chalet is air-conditioned and has its own complimentary mini bar.

Day 2-3: Game drives and walks
Guests can choose morning, afternoon or night drives to get their fill of the wonderful game viewing that is available here. This is a fantastic way to get your first glimpse of African wildlife while recovering from your long journey.

Activities & Wildlife Sightings
As this is a water-based lodge, guests have a choice of aquatic activities. River excursions in small, easily maneuverable boats are ideal for close encounters with the wild visitors to the river’s edge. Fishing is also a popular pastime; our catch-and-release fishing trips for Bream or Tiger Fish are a firm favorite with guests of all ages. Those wishing to experience some of the local Namibian traditions will enjoy a cultural village visit to one of the surrounding communities, where one can observe the ancient heritage of the local people. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Transfer to Old Drift Lodge
Morning Game activity at Chobe Savanna Lodge followed by breakfast / brunch. After, we will be transferred by 4 x 4 vehicles into the park to start the canoe safari.

We’ll see elephant, zebra, bushbuck, kudu, Cape buffalo, ubiquitous baboons, impala, and the occasional bush duiker. The bird life is an ornithologist’s dream come true, with the various ibises and Trumpeter Horn Bill standing out. Of course, a glimpse of a Lilac Breasted Roller would be welcome! Then, in the river, which is roughly a mile wide at times and often channels around sand banks and reed islands, lies the choice habitat for the hippopotami and the patient crocodile. The nocturnal creatures we might also see, or hear, are lions, leopards and the rare wild dog, just to mention a few. Chances are better that we’ll hear the lionesses as they return from the dawn hunt.

At dusk we’ll gather around and sit high on the bank overlooking the river. We’ll hear the deep, low decibel grumbles and burps of the hippos as they call out to announce their night time grazing fete. The bush will be alive with sound as night falls and we inch closer to the fire. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Canoe safari
We paddle further downstream in the morning until we have a picnic lunch on one of the islands, or on the main land supplied by our land support team that will shadow us with vehicles. After lunch we run class 2 rapids doing our best not to capsize. We will hope to see abundant wild life along the river and enjoy certain safe to bathe swimming holes! We spend another night at our riverside comfortable camp! (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Canoe safari
We paddle all morning watching for more game and running more fun rapids! We will take-out upstream from the Devil’s Cataract At Old Drift Lodge.

Upstream of the iconic Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River, lies Old Drift Lodge. The lodge boasts luxury accommodation overlooking the pristine Zambezi National Park, a mere 7 kilometers from the mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Old Drift Lodge is nestled within a wild paradise frequented by elephant, buffalo, herds of sable, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala. The main lodge area has 360 degree views, North facing onto the Zambezi & South facing onto a water hole. A 7 kilometre stretch of river flows between the camp and the town of Victoria Falls, making Old Drift Lodge the closest lodge within the National Park to Victoria Falls.The symphony of birdsong and calls of wildlife create a choir that enraptures all listeners and accompanies guests on this idyllic African experience.

The spacious canvas en-suite rooms exhibit and air of elegance that blends in seamlessly with the natural environment. The suites are resplendent with stylish furnishings and fittings, accentuated by an indoor and outdoor shower, private plunge pool and bath with a view. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Rafting – Boiling Pot just below the Falls to our Beach Camp below rapid number 10
Time to raft the big river! At 8:30 am we begin our journey into the gorge right below the Victoria Falls. We hike down a steep trail to meet our waiting rafts. We launch and will begin our 60 km river journey as the river flows east toward the Indian Ocean. With both paddle and oar boats, our day is spent navigating some the world’s biggest and most dynamic rapids. The river gorge starts out deep and steep, twisting and bending to form a series of sinuous goosenecks. The canyon rim looms overhead as we come face to face with what some would call “Nyami-Nyami”, the Zambezi river god, more easily recognized as the heart pounding and enormous rapids (about one per mile)! The air is hot and dry, the river water a mild 62 degrees, and the breeze that sweeps up the canyon is fragrant with the wilds of Africa. Our first night’s camp is where we meet our gear as porters carry it into the gorge for us. This beautiful big white sand beach camp is truly fantastic to unwind from a super exciting day of white water with a cold beer in your hand and your guides cooking over an open fire for you.  (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Self-support rafting to middle of nowhere…deep into the Batoka Gorge
We wake next to the river at the bottom of the Batoka gorge. After morning tea or cowboy coffee, we have a light breakfast and hike out of the gorge (600 ft climb/hike) Our open air transport will take us through the rural villages and farm lands back to the Victoria Falls and we return to the boiling pot to run rapids 1-21 again! This time more relaxed and able to take in all the rapids with the second go around! We camp again at our already set up beautiful sandy beach, no bugs and perfect temperatures. The gear boat guides will meet us here as we bring everything downriver with us from this river camp once we actually head further downstream.(B,L,D)

Day 9 – Moving down stream
Now we are “self-supported” as we raft further into the Batoka gorge, running Wake up call, Open and Closed Season, Chimamba and upper Moimba Falls. Many say upper Moimba rapid is the most exciting and fun rapid on the river. We camp on yet another fantastic big sandy beach and relax after a moderately intense day of rafting. More calm sections and time to just soak in being in a place few people get to see with their own eyes. As we travel downstream, the rapids spread out and we enter some big open valleys with lush vegetation. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Moimba camp to the Batoka Dam Site
We get up early to take advantage of cool morning air. Today we come upon the un-raftable waterfalls of Lower Moimba. It is a portage where we lower the rafts over a 30-foot vertical cliff into an eddy-pool below. Then we float a couple of miles to the proposed dam site for the Batoka gorge dam. We will then take an hour (hot) hike out of the gorge to our transportation back to Victoria Falls. On the trip back we will travel through remote countryside, through villages and make a stop at a local school in Chisuma village where a lot of the Zambezi guides and porters grow up. Its nice to bring school supplies and other gifts from home to handout to the school children. Overnight Elephant Camp – one of the top 25 luxury hotels in Africa!

This deluxe safari camp perched on a private game reserve will be a decadent treat after an exciting descent of the Zambezi. Hot showers, a dip in the plunge pool and sundowners before dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Devils Pool
After breakfast we will head out by vehicle, cross into Zambia to the boat jetty on the Zambezi where a small motor boat will ferry us out to the middle of the Victoria Falls and take us to Livingstone Island. From here we hike a short distance to the upstream edge of the Victoria Falls and from there will traverse a pool of calm water by swimming and then we climb onto a rock outcropping that allows us to jump into the famous Devil’s pool! This natural “tea cup” allows you to literally sit on the edge of the falls as water spills over the edge of the cup where you jumped in! It is a truly amazing and unforgettable experience that will set the tone for the exciting fun held in store for you! After the refreshing “dip” we swim, hike back to the tented “tea room” for a light, late morning snack of crumpets and tea. We return to the lodge for lunch and rest. In the afternoon, we can enjoy more of what the Elephant Camp has to offer and meet some of the rescued wildlife up close and personal, or take a trip back to Vic Falls for some adventure activities, souvenir shopping …the choice is yours, but we’re betting you are not going to want to leave. Tonight will be our farewell dinner as we share great stories and make plans for our next adventure. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Departure
By now, your new home in the bush will feel so comfortable that you will begin to ponder ditching the real job back home and opening your own lodge in Africa. But while you are fantasizing we will transfer you to the Victoria Falls Airport for a mid-day flight out. You will connect with your international flight home, and you will still be dreaming and reflecting on one of the best experiences in your life and the new friends made. You might already be scheming a timely return to the African wilderness and its supreme whitewater – the inimitable Zambezi…(B)

Chobe Savanna Lodge

Set on the banks of the Chobe River overlooking Botswana’s famed Chobe National Park, Chobe Savanna Lodge is the perfect destination from which to experience the thrill of a river based safari in the home of Africa’s highest elephant population. Chobe Savanna Lodge is a small and intimate luxury camp offering homely safaris. The lodge’s unique location offers remarkable views over the Chobe National Park from several vantage points.

Located in the Eastern Zambezi Region of Namibia, a narrow strip on the northern bank of the Chobe River, Chobe Savanna Lodge overlooks the vast floodplains of the Chobe National Park’s Puku Flats. The Chobe River provides a permanent water source to large herds of Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo, as well as dense concentrations of other wildlife – including Lion, Leopard and Wild Dog. The river offers exceptional birding opportunities where large flocks of carmine bee-eaters are spotted in season. When in flood spoonbills, ibis, various species of storks, ducks and other waterfowl flock to the area. The best way to experience the Chobe River is from the water and their experienced guides are on hand to introduce you to the true wonders of this magnificent ecosystem.

Elephant Camp Zimbabwe

Situated on a private concession within and bounded by the Masuwe River and the Zambezi gorges, The Elephant Camp has breathtaking views of the Victoria Falls’ spray, and the spectacular gorges which separate Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Elephant Camp is a luxury and intimate lodge under canvas within easy reach of Victoria Falls and all its attractions and activities.

Old Drift Lodge

Upstream of the iconic Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River, lies Old Drift Lodge. The lodge boasts luxury accommodation overlooking the pristine Zambezi National Park, a mere 7 kilometers from the mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Old Drift Lodge is nestled within a wild paradise frequented by elephant, buffalo, herds of sable, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala.The main lodge area will have 360 degree views, North facing onto the Zambezi & South facing onto a water hole. A 7 kilometre stretch of river flows between the camp and the town of Victoria Falls, making Old Drift Lodge the closest lodge within the National Park to Victoria Falls. The symphony of birdsong and calls of wildlife create a choir that enraptures all listeners and accompanies guests on this idyllic African experience.

The spacious canvas en-suite rooms exhibit and air of elegance that blends in seamlessly with the natural environment. The suites are resplendent with stylish furnishings and fittings, accentuated by an indoor and outdoor shower, private plunge pool and bath with a view.

Old Drift Lodge offers family friendly accommodation with an air of opulence and grace, in a wild and exuberant Zambezi National Park, Victoria Falls.

Departure Dates:

2023
September 5-16
September 16-27
September 28 – October 9

Trip Length: 12 Days
Trip Price:

2023
$7,250 per person, based on double occupancy

Deposit: $600

What To Bring

The climate is hot and dry, and the water in the Zambezi river is relatively warm, so for the most part, you will live in shorts and a t-shirt. For sun protection and to help keep you cool while on the river, we recommend a long sleeve button down shirt made of a light colored, light and quick-drying fabric. September and October are the dry months so there should be very few mosquitoes to worry about. There are certain dining rooms in Victoria Falls that require “smarter” attire – for men, long pants and a button down shirt, and a dress for women.

• Safari clothing: cotton button down shirt , Khaki trousers & shorts – the best colors are those that blend in with the Bush, don’t scare away the animals
• T-shirts, white or earth colors
• Comfortable walking shoes or boots
• Socks
• “Smart Casual” attire for Hotels
• Sweater or fleece for cool mornings
• comfortable clothing for camp
• Long sleeve quick-dry shirt
• Quick-dry shorts
• Swimsuit
• River sandals (Tevas, Chacos or similar)
• A carabiner
• Waterproof sunscreen
• Sunglasses & straps
• Insect repellent
• Toiletry kit
• Wide brimmed hat, strap
• Flash light or headlamp and extra batteries
• Camera, extra memory, batteries
• H20 bottle, cup, Iodine crystals
• Toiletry kit
• Bandana
• Small 20 liter dry bag for stuff, Zip lock Bags.

Tents are provided but optional. It is usually hot and stargazing is great under the Southern Cross! Most people just sleep out on a ground cloth. However, a tent for privacy is provided.

Optional
• Power Bars or similar energy bars. (one per day)
• Gatorade powder packets to help mask the taste of iodine treated water (10 liters worth)
• A good book
• A journal and pens
• Cards, fun & games
• Music, or instruments
• Binoculars
• Bird book

Additional things you might consider bringing:

If you like strong coffee, perhaps bring a pound of gourmet grounds. When you are in duty free, you might pick up your favorite bottle of spirit for the rafting trip. We provide reasonable amounts of wine and beer. Bring clothes that you are planning to discard and trade in for curios in Vic Falls. For example, trade old T-shirts for fine woodcarvings. Also, the fishing is quite good. A telescopic rod and reel with some spoon spinners and a steel leader will allow you to land some feisty Tiger Fish!

Essential Travel Documents

Your Passport – If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement.

Check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have a least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have additional pages added.

Please do not pack your passport in your check-in luggage. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure but a various times during your trip.

Visas – Visa costs can often change at the last minute. It’s best to have adequate US cash on you in small denominations. You should also check the country’s embassy / consular website before leaving your country.

Namibia
A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required.
na.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/travel-to-namibia/

Zimbabwe
Entry requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds. Canadians and Americans are required to pay visa fees at point of entry. A multiple entry visa is US$60.
http://zimbabwe-embassy.us/index.html 

Botswana
A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required.
botswana.usembassy.gov/
travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/botswana.html

Travel and Evacuation Insurance

Travel insurance is highly recommended for this trip.  Please see the top right of our website for a link to our preferred Travel Insurance: Travelex.

Getting There

You will be flying into Kasane International Airport (BKK), Botswana and out of Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA). The first day of the trip is an arrival day. The last day of the trip is your departure day. Be sure to email your entire flight itinerary and we will arrange an airport pick-up.

*There is an airport departure tax, payable in US dollars.

Money Matters

There is an ATM machine Victoria Falls, however it is not reliable. You should therefore be prepared for this. You should bring plenty of US dollars. Crisp, clean, new bills are best. Small bills come in handy for tipping hotel staff, taxis and buying small things off the street.

Travelers Checks are not recommended as they are difficult to cash. A money belt worn under your clothes is highly recommended.

Immunizations

We suggest you check with your family doctor at least 2 months before your trip to find out the latest requirements for shots when traveling to Africa. Recent information on required vaccinations can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control international travelers hotline at 877-394-8747. You can access their website by directing your browser to http://www.cdc.gov/. You should particularly look into the following vaccinations:

• Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)
• Typhoid
• Yellow fever
• Rabies
• As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms may include fever and flu-like illness, including: chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Malaria can often be prevented by using anti-malarial drugs and by using personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites. However, in spite of all protective measures, travelers may still develop malaria. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and should tell the physician their travel history.

Malarone is the drug of choice for Malaria prevention as it has fewer reported side effects than other drugs and, according to various studies, is more effective.

In addition to using drugs to prevent malaria, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothing that covers most of the body, using bed nets, and applying insect repellent to exposed skin, particularly between dusk and dawn. The most effective repellents contain the active ingredient DEET. When using DEET, follow these precautions:

• Always use according to label directions.
• Use repellent only when outdoors and wash skin after coming indoors.
• Do not breathe or swallow repellent or get it in the eyes.
• Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
• Adults should use DEET at a concentration of 30% to 35%.
• DEET should not come in contact with rubber elements for they will melt.

For greater protection, clothing can be soaked in or sprayed with permethrin. Permethrin will repel insects for several months. Repellents containing DEET, and Permethrin can be purchased in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores.

Water

Although it takes a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Africa, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in most of Africa. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice as the ice can be made from tap water. We highly recommend a personal water pump or iodine so you may never have to worry about not having enough water.

Food

Avoid rich food until you acclimatize. If you are wary of getting sick, then play it safe and eat only cooked foods or fresh fruit that you have peeled yourself. The best hotels and restaurants have high standards for hygiene and food preparation. In general, stay cautious, eat what appeals to you and trust your senses.

Digestive Worries

Traveling to Africa is going to be a big change on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Although ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, on a paddling trip this is uncomfortable. You may want to bring an over-the-counter medication to minimize your discomfort or talk to your doctor about prescribing an antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea such as Cipro. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as some of the restrooms in Africa may not have TP.

Prescriptions

If you take prescription medications that you need to bring, be sure to have a plentiful supply and the doctor’s prescription in case something happens to them. Along those lines, it is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring a spare set.

Voltage

Electrical current in Africa is 220 volts AC.

Thievery

Although the locals are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, poverty and therefore thievery, is a problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch that you wear around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including fancy watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (i.e.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in your ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings.

Fitness Levels

Our trips are designed for people who enjoy the out-of-doors, rather than for fitness fanatics. Still, they are active holidays. Age is unimportant when it comes to your ability to do the rafting, paddling, and hiking-the more important consideration is your physical condition. If you haven’t attempted the kind of exercise levels required by our trips within the last couple of years, please be aware of the sort of trip you are taking. It’s an active one, and you will enjoy it more if you have been doing some exercise before you go. Activities that involve aerobic conditioning, such as swimming, walking, jogging, squash, and tennis are great for overall physical conditioning.

No previous river experience is required. Your guides will give you an orientation to expedition practices and teach you all the basic skills that you will require to enjoy the different aspects of the trip. Our prime consideration is to provide you with a trip that is as safe and comfortable as possible while still maintaining the integrity of a wilderness experience.

Etiquette

On our trip, we will be travelling through environmentally sensitive areas. Our excursions are designed to promote an understanding of the delicate ecosystems that make this area unique, while preserving their fundamental integrity. We ask participants to share our concern for the environment by practising low-impact touring in this sensitive area.

We operate on a “leave-no-trace” policy, meaning we travel in a self-contained manner, carrying in what we require and carrying out all garbage and human waste. We believe the survival of the natural environment and the wildlife it supports depends on establishing an economy beyond simple resource harvesting. Our goal is to immerse our clients in Africa’s vast natural beauty, which, in turn, supports eco-tourism as a viable, economic choice.

Gratuities

The tipping of guides is entirely discretionary, and we feel strongly that gratuities should not be offered to them if they lead anything less than a great trip. However, we expect that our staff will do a great job in making your trip memorable and, when they do, it is not uncommon for our travellers to offer a gratuity. The staff very much appreciates it.

We are often asked what is appropriate. In general, we have found that when our travellers offer a gratuity, it is in the range of a “thank you” to 15% of the trip cost per person. But again, tipping is entirely at your discretion.

Special Considerations

Please let us know if you are having a birthday or anniversary on the trip. We will also need to know of any medical or dietary requirements that you would like us to consider in planning your trip (i.e. if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have any food allergies.). Please note this on the Guest Registration Form (be specific as to what your needs are) and return it to our office at least 60 days before your trip. If you are booking your trip less than 60 days before departure, please make sure you’ve discussed any special requests with our office.

Recommended Reading / Viewing

• Out of Africa, I. Dineson (or rent the video)
• River Gods, R. Bangs
• The Power of One, B. Courtenay

Helpful Phrases

• Just now = Pretty soon, or later
• Now now = Immediately, on the double!
• Make a Plan = I don’t quite know yet
• Kun-Jhani = Good morning
• Siya Bonga = Thank you

For a closer look at Victoria Falls:

Fun times on the Canoe Safari:
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs0aNkoqyAA&t=3s

Add a review

12 reviews for Zambezi Explorer

  1. Please comment on your overall impression of the trip. Did it meet your expectations?

    Exceeded my expectations ! As always It is great to see Diego, Italo, and Mark! It is also fun meeting new people! This trip had a great group of people!, a great support staff, and a well planned itinerary The local guides were awesome as well; and Isaac, the video/ photographer seems to have done an amazing job. I can’t wait to see the video and the photos!!!

    What did you think about the quality and the knowledge of your guide staff?
    Off the charts- fantastic!

    Would you consider traveling with Bio Bio Expeditions again? If so, which trips interest you most?
    Norway trip, Maroñon Peru, Cotahuasi Peru

    If you were to tell a friend or colleague about your overall experience on this trip, what would you say?
    Best whitewater in the world with Diego best river guide in the world !!! This is what I wrote to my family and friends…” My trip was an outstanding adventure ride. I doubt there is better Whitewater anywhere in the world We took inflatable cayaks through the upper Zambezi going through small rapids amongst hippos and crocodiles and then whitewatererd 4 days in the lower Zambezi just below Victoria Falls and swam in the devils pool overlooking the falls with a guide holding my ankles so I wouldn’t go over!!! It was a crazy ride!!!”

  2. Just back from the Zambezi trip. It was fantastic. Well organized, great guides and an all round stellar group of participants.

    Derik and Whitney were a great team. They made everything appear seamless and as if there were never any worries. Since I am well aware that is impossible on any expedition, I highly commend their professionalism and teamwork. From the first few hours they established a positive group dynamic that made me (and I assume the others) feel like an integral part of the whole.

    I was ridiculously nervous about the rafting. Sadly, a bad kayaking swim so many years ago it should be forgotten, has made me a bit of a whitewater mess. Even after running the Futaleufu a few years ago. The serious but calm and fun loving approach of Derik, Whitney and the local guides was helpful in getting going on the river. The rowing skills of Ernest (the raft Howie and I were on) went a long way to steadying my nerves. Derik’s solid skills in the other boat helped me keep things in perspective. And honestly, watching Whitney work with the river with such a calm demeanor, solid skills and obvious love of sport did the most to restore my confidence and love of whitewater by the end of the trip. I wasn’t sure I would ever get it back. I’m so grateful. That’s a helluva a guide duo you have there. Thanks for sending them with us.

    Best,
    Martha Zambezi 2021

  3. Hi Marc,
    Thank you for reaching out to all of us. The Sept 29th Zambezi trip was fantastic. some highlights are:
    -We were able to accomplish so much in such a short time frame without feeling rushed
    -Logistics were seamless. The local partners made you feel confident that they had everything under control and that we could trust them
    -Diego and Elena were great guides, competent on the river, and fun to be around off the river. they both did a great job of including all the clients and making our team gel throughout the trip.
    -The venues we stayed at were very nice, and it was a treat to have a blend of camping and hotels over the span of 11 days. the Safari lodge and Elephant Camp were places much nicer than i would be used to staying at — but offered great add-ons such as the Boma restaurant and the cheetah/elephant interactions. Sleeping under the stars on the beaches was particularly interesting to me.
    -The guides did a great job of answering questions, preparing us for the upcoming activities, and subtly creating interest in doing other trips with Bio Bio such as Morocco and Cotahuasi.
    -3/4 of the guests made the bungee jump off the Vic falls bridge

    I was introduced to Bio Bio in 2012 by our mutual friend Shirley Wampler who couldn’t speak highly enough about BBX and the team. I must admit that I had some sticker shock at the price of some of the expeditions, but after joining you all on the Fu and the Zambezi, I can see the value lies in the expertise of the team and first-class service that BBX provides on expeditions. Keep up the great work.
    Sincerely,
    Brian Levendusky
    Zambezi 2018

  4. On every level, and then some. Having done BBX trips before, the bar was set, but I had no idea the rafting portion would be so luxe, ie I was planning to haul gear, help cook, etc. Every day was the best day of my life, literally. The partners from Zimbabwe were just as great- from the cooks to Hippo to our safari guides, everyone was first rate.
    What did you think about the quality and the knowledge of your guide staff?
    Off the charts- fantastic!

    Frankly, I only want to travel with BBX on future trips. As a client and a travel journalist, I’ve done trips with dozens of outfitters and none can match up to what you offer, on all counts. I also trust every one of your guides (shout out to Diego, Piero and Santi) with my life, and they always impress with their skill, credentials, humor and affability. I think the world of BBX and you’ll be seeing me on future trips, starting w/ Cotahuasi 2019. Thank you for the most memorable trip of my life, thus far.

  5. Hi Marc — Our trip was AMAZING! Truly the trip of a lifetime. We were pampered and taken care of every single step of the way. Imbabala Safari Lodge was stupendous. Loved Sarah and John. Our guide there, Stan, was fantastic! Hippo was incredible and our rafting and kayaking trips were stupendous, except for being charged by a hippo…which now makes a great story! The rapids were definitely exhilarating and the crew of young men that Hippo brought together were so very sweet. They were fun and took great care of us. Our stay at Elephant Camp was amazing…what a place! And then our Camp Hwange experience was literally THE BEST! They gave us a 40th anniversary dinner out in the bush on the last night.

    Amazing! Incredible! Fabulous! Stupendous! Life-changing! What more can I say?

    Here are a few pictures — sending them in small format — but at least you will see what we saw and may remind you of your trips there!

    Can’t thank you enough! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you as far as reviews, etc.

    With so much gratitude,
    Nancy
    Zambezi 2017

  6. 1. Diego and Santi were awesome! I met them in Patagonia on the Fu and it was such a pleasure to be with them again. I had no doubt that my life was in great hands with them and I always felt safe. they totally made the trip a blast!

    2. Hippo and his crew are equally as awesome. Singing songs with Hippo at the campfire was memorable. Simba’s cooking was so delicious. I was amazed to see the crew deal with rafting the supplies down the river and keeping us safe

    3. all of the hotels were outstanding. Imbabala, Vic Falls and Elephant Camp. I enjoyed the safari drives and Sylvester the Cheetah

  7. The trip was great, The food was excellent and the guides were very friendly. I have some really fantastic pictures to show all my friends here at home. I think the game drives with all the animals and the kayaking trip were the most enjoyable for me.

  8. Hey Marc!!! Just returned yesterday from our amazing amazing trip to Zimbabwe.. It was everything you said.. one of the best and most memorable trips of a lifetime.. from start to finish, every single moment had something special to remember it by.. not sure where to start but I will do my best. Thanks so much!

  9. What an adventure, 2 weeks in the bush of Zimbabwe, rafting and kayaking down the Zambezi, dodging crocs and hippos. Incredible, guides steering us through some of biggest rapids in the world, throwing yourself off a cliff over the gorge, chased by warthogs and a giraffe, then relaxing at a first class tent camp deep in bush to see some amazing African wildlife. WOW, did that all really happen?

  10. Amazing river, even more amazing guides! As always, one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. Have a feeling that we’ll be back again. Looking forward to our next adventures with you – y’all rock!

  11. Did we survive? Absolutely. Fantastic time and another Bio Bio killer trip!

  12. Hi Marc Fantastic trip! Jane and I had a great time, experienced some very fun and positive things we had not experienced before and made some great friends. ( I am not sure what we were thinking getting strapped on the gorge swing!) The Zambezi and Victoria Falls is something everyone should enjoy at least once in their lifetime. Attempting to boogie board a class IV rapid was a fun but humbling experience. The people and especially the guides we encountered were all very friendly and concerned with keeping us safe while still having fun. Good brief from Brent prior to departure on river portion. Hwange National Park was beautiful. The Somalisa lodge was not to be missed and great service to boot. Wildlife was up close and personal. A feeding elephant actually bumped the support lines for the tent one night and shook the tent. What a thrill! We very much enjoyed the character and charm of the Vic Falls Hotel and the service was excellent. Highly recommend this trip to anyone whether they have ever picked up a paddle or not.