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"Cruise through Africa in style"

“The only way to experience the magic of Africa’s waterways is by boat”

From exploring the channels and lagoons of the Okavango Delta to cruising the majestic Zambezi River, an African waterway adventure is quite unlike any other type of safari. 

Get up close and personal with big game as they wander the water’s edge, and take in the magnificent bird wildlife found along Africa’s waterways. Navigating these staggering watery landscapes by boat allows you to see Africa in an entirely different light, while also offering fantastic photographic opportunities that often can’t be found on land. Think you know all about safaris? Think again. 


Why choose a boating safari?

When we think about the word safari, we typically imagine game drives through a national park, with magnificent views across the bush teaming with wild animals. But the word safari simply means ‘journey’ and there is absolutely no reason your African adventure can’t take place on the water rather than on land. 

If you’re looking for extraordinary animal sightings, Africa’s complex systems of rivers, waterways, and coastal regions are an excellent place to start. A boat cruise or one of our smaller boat trips on offer is a phenomenal way to get up close and personal with Africa’s dazzling array of wildlife. 

Wildlife encounters while on the water tend to be a little different and if you’ve already experienced a traditional land-based safari, this might well be your next logical step. Bird watching takes on a whole new meaning with aquatic bird life, as well as thirsty land-dwellers, crowding around water sources. Amazing bird sightings are not just a possibility, it’s an absolute assurance. 

But of course, it’s not simply the birds that you need to keep that zoom lens primed for. Rivers and waterways often draw a huge concentration of wildlife to their banks and a boat journey can sometimes provide an even better opportunity to see those hallowed African animals that we’ve all dreamed about seeing since we were children. It’s not uncommon to find an elephant herd stopping next to the river for a quick refreshment, with plenty of cape buffalo, endless hippo pools, as well as those iconic big game cats all in attendance. 


Types of boating safaris available? 

If you’re interested in a mobile boating safari, then you’re in luck, there are several different options available, including sedate Dhow cruises off the coast of Kenya, houseboat cruises down the Chobe River, and 8-day trips around the Okavango Delta. 

Each offers something completely different so it’s important to be as clear as you can about what you’re looking for with a boat safari.


Tusitiri Dhow Safari

The Tusitiri Dhow Safari is all about luxury while cruising sedately in the waters around the Lamu Archipelago. The Tusitiri is a traditional wooden dhow sailing boat, fifty years old, but meticulously restored to provide the kind of luxurious nautical setting that is difficult to beat. 

Activities include snorkelling in crystal clear waters thick with coral reefs, paddleboarding in delightful lagoons, water-skiing, wakeboarding, hiking through mangrove forests, or simply taking it easy on the deck of the Tusitiri with a cocktail in hand. 

Nights are spent onboard the Tusitiri and the boat can accommodate up to 10 guests. The dhow is booked on a per-night basis, meaning you can rent it for as long as you want, but we’ve put together a sample itinerary here.  


Houseboat Photographic Safari on the Chobe River 

A houseboat photographic safari along the stunning Chobe River in Botswana is the perfect way to both unwind and home your photography skills at the same time. The houseboat in question is the Pangolin Voyager which comes with 5 cabins (10 guests in total) and a specifically designed eight-seater photo boat used to capture astonishing wildlife encounters and fantastic birdlife sightings. 

The Voyager can be booked for a large group, space permitting, but is also a great option for solo travellers. 


Trans Okavango Boating Expedition

If you really want to see the Okavango Delta, then our Trans Okavango Boating Expedition is an absolute must. This swampy inland delta is known for being one of Africa’s prime wildlife destinations, and an 8-day tour by boat is the perfect way to see a huge amount of it in a relatively short period. 

While days are spent zipping along the Okavango Delta, past uninhabited islands, with more wildlife viewing than you’ll know what to do with it, nights are spent on land in fly camps situated next to the banks of the Okavango. Camps included dome tents, communal washing facilities, and hot water. If you’re looking for adventure, then the Trans Okavango is for you.      

Things to remember about boating safaris

There are a few obvious points to consider carefully before booking a boating safari with us. Sea sickness is the first, and probably the most important. While we rarely have guests who confuse the term boating safari with something on land, it’s important to be realistic about what you are in for if you choose a watery adventure with SAFARI FRANK. 

Boat trips rarely experience weather that causes the boat to tip and sway in the water to any great degree, but obviously, anybody who suffers from seasickness should think carefully. We’d hate for anybody to have to stay in their cabin for prolonged periods through sickness. That being said, all three boating safari options we offer are fairly sedate (in the grand scheme of ocean travel) with the Trans Okavango probably being the best for anybody with a queasy stomach because nights are spent on land.

We also usually find that guests like to combine a boat safari with something land-based and each of these options comes with excellent add-on possibilities if you’re looking to round out your safari in style. Even if it’s just a few days at a safari lodge, we find it’s a great way to acclimatise to being back on dry land and allows you to relax or stretch your legs on this spectacular continent before heading home. 

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