Canoe Safari on the Mighty Zambezi (Day 2 & 3)

The second day on the Zambezi started out with yet another elephant charging at us. This time we were all on land and approaching a group of elephants. Most of the elephants walked away when they saw us coming closer. Only one stayed behind directly facing us. As we got closer, some movement must have triggered him to charge at us. When he charged towards us, just as with the canoes the day before, we stayed close together to appear bigger to the elephant. But he did not seem to care and kept coming towards. Our guide Sibi then decided that the elephant was close enough and with a brisk motion he held up his hand, palm facing the elephant. Amazingly this immediately made the elephant stop, turn and slowly walk away.

šŸŽ¶ Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream šŸŽ¶, that is pretty much what we did for most of the day. Until we met a heard of buffalos that Paul wanted to film from his drone. The trip that we were on was actually a marketing trip for Horse River Safaris with the goal to film a video to promote their trips. Therefore, Paul was on the hunt for the best scenes and animal interactions. Unfortunately, the drone scared the buffalos away but we got a good look at the heard before they were too far gone.

To support the filming we also had a motor boat with us (the unoffical reason was to carry our beers) for the first three days. This came in very handy for a quick trip to swim at a nearby sand bank. Swimming anywhere deeper than 30cm would be too dangerous as we would not see crocodiles, hippos, etc. in the murky waters.

As the day came to an end, we had a nice fire, freshly made popcorn, roasted peanuts and dinner was being prepared as we enjoyed the sunset in this peaceful stretch of land.

In the morning we woke up with the first sunrays to a full breakfast including eggs, bacon, bread, and so on before we had to break up the camp and pack the canoes. We started to get into a good routine of paddeling from the early morning (after some disagreement on how to steer the canoe the first two days we had pretty much become experts by now) until just about 11am.

We would then take a long lunchbreak (approximately till 2pm or even 3pm) to get out off the unbearable heat and the sun that tried to roast us alive.

In the afternoon, we would paddel sometimes till just before sunset. During all that time in the canoe we would always be on the lookout for wildlife. We would approach them as close as we safely could, sometimes even closer…

That night, during the routine bath at the sand bank, a thunderstorm developed in the distance. In combination with the sunset this made an amazing sight as the thunderstorm moved across the river and passed the setting sun.

Since we camped on an island we were sure to not have any large cats around and I used the chance to sleep by the fire under the stars. This was an incredible feeling as the bush around us was still awake and different noises were all around us. As the fire died down the stars became even more plentiful and I slowly fell asleep. Only the next day, after seeing one of the most beautiful sunrise with the deepest red sun, did I find out from Sibi our guide, that a heard of about ten elephants had visited our camp during the night…