Zambezi River Safari and Houseboat Cruise

11-Day Zimbabwe Tour with 5-Day Lake Kariba Cruise

Zambezi River Safari and Houseboat CruiseDiscover one of Africa’s hidden treasures on an unforgettable journey amid
Zimbabwe’s natural beauty. Explore magnificent waterfalls, pristine national
parks, and enjoy thrilling wildlife safaris.

from5,070 $per person

What Makes Your Journey Unique

  • Experience the mighty Zambezi River
  • Enjoy a unique and exclusive cruise on Lake Kariba
  • Discover Zimbabwe on a houseboat featuring nine cabins, all with panoramic views
  • Visit the immense Victoria Falls, also known as the Smoke that Thunders
  • Explore the Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Go on a safari in the Matusadona National Park, home to all big five game animals


  • 24 Aug 21 - 03 Sep 21 (11 days)

Info & Booking

Susanne Willeke
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Day 1. Zimbabwe Welcomes You

Your first day in Zimbabwe immediately gets off to the right start—with a smile from your driver. Once you arrive at your lodge, you begin to explore its amenities and surrounding areas. After lunch, you take advantage of your private balcony and gaze at the unfettered panorama of the gorgeous Zambezi National Park. A nearby watering hole attracts local wildlife, making for some beautiful and spontaneous photography sessions. That evening, you enjoy a sunset dinner on board and get your first impressions of the Zambezi River, impressions that will last forever. As the sun sets, turning the landscape into a multi-colored paradise, you continue to spot wild animals along the banks of the river. Overnight: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (or similar) (LD) Meals: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 2. Behold Victoria Falls: The Smoke that Thunders

After breakfast, you’re off to the roaring Victoria Falls—known as the Smoke that Thunders—dubbed one of the world’s seven natural wonders. You enjoy your lunch, still reveling at the beauty of the falls. Magnificent views take your breath away and you wonder what it would be like to live next to such beauty every day. In the afternoon, you may choose to enjoy add-on activities such as a panoramic helicopter ride or an exciting tour across the Victoria Falls Bridge, where you can feel the dramatic spray of the falls against your face. Your evening ends with a special dinner called Braai—a traditional outdoor buffet of barbecued meats and local specialties—around a flickering camp fire and good company. Overnight: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (or similar) (BLD)

Day 3. All Aboard the Umbozha, Your Exclusive Houseboat

After breakfast at the lodge, you take a scenic five-hour bus ride to Binga, where you board the houseboat that will be your home on Lake Kariba for the next five days. You travel through the region of the Tonga people, whose members were displaced as a result of the building of the Kariba Dam and who now live along parts of the riverside. As your houseboat sets off and your cruise begins, you get acquainted with your cabin then enjoy lunch. In the early evening, your houseboat drops anchor at the mouth of the Rusi River. Overnight: Houseboat (BLD)

Day 4. Enter the Heart of Lake Kariba

After breakfast, you explore the remote Rusi River in tender boats. There is a good chance you will see buffalo, lions, elephants, leopards, crocodiles and hippos as well as different types of antelopes and birds. During a guided hike, you walk through the natural habitats of local fauna. Lunch is served aboard your houseboat. Later you relax on the sun deck or simply enjoy watching wild animals as you cruise on the lake. Overnight: Houseboat (BLD)

Day 5. Deeper into the Wild: The Big Five Safari

Today, many amazing discoveries await you. After breakfast, you go ashore and board your off-road vehicles for a safari on land. As you explore this very remote and pristine part of the Matusadona National Park, you genuinely feel that you are in the middle of the wild. The hair on the back of your neck stands on end. Your guide tells you to look out for the so-called big five game animals—the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant—which just adds to your excitement. After the off-road safari, your guide takes you on a hike in search of fossils, Stone Age tools and other archaeological secrets usually found in the area. As you gain more knowledge about Zimbabwe, you begin to get a clear mental picture of the country. This makes your feeling of excitement grow, but doesn’t quench your thirst for more. After a long morning of exploration, you deserve a good lunch, which you find at a nearby lodge. You return to your houseboat after a hearty meal and continue toward Gordon’s Bay, where you revel in another gorgeous sunset. Overnight: Houseboat (BLD)

Day 6. Daily Life on the Banks of Lake Kariba

Another day filled with experiences that will become life-long memories has come and gone, and you can’t wait to see what’s next. From Gordon’s Bay, you head now toward Antelope Island, which puts you a day away from the Kariba Dam. After breakfast, you go ashore again, this time to meet the local Tonga people and get a glimpse of their everyday life. Their villages are scattered around the riverbanks, and the locals have little contact with foreigners, however, many have become accustomed to visits from travelers. Their relatively simple life and traditional ways make you reflect on the differences and similarities between cultures around the world. After lunch, you return to your houseboat and cruise onward to Antelope Island, where you head back into the wilderness for more exploration. Later, you have the choice between going on a safari by tender boat and trying your luck at fishing. Overnight: Houseboat (BLD)

Day 7. From Kariba Town to Mana Pools

In the morning, you arrive at the town of Kariba, where you disembark your houseboat and take a short drive to the massive Kariba Dam, built in the 1960s. Later you continue on to the village of Chirundu, where you experience a boat ride on the Zambezi River to reach your safari camp—an ideal spot for animal watching. After you arrive, you enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, you choose between enjoying a game drive and relaxing on the terrace to marvel at the riverscape of the Zambezi. Your eventful day comes to an end with a cool drink riverside. On the trip back to camp, you might have a chance encounter with the night’s first nocturnal creatures… Overnight: Vundu Camp (or similar) (BLD)

Day 8. Full-Day Safari at Mana Pools National Park

Today you get up early, and after a prompt breakfast, you set off on your exciting game drive through Mana Pools National Park. Due to the inaccessible nature of its landscapes, the park is not often open to travelers. The park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its diverse landscapes and animal species as well as for its population of rare wild dogs. After lunch, you have even more chances to witness the park’s faunal diversity. On hot afternoons, many animals leave their shelters to cool off in nearby watering holes. Overnight: Vundu Camp (or similar) (BLD)

Day 9. The Chinhoyi Caves Experience

So far, the most stunning experiences of your trip have been under the open sky. Today will be a little different. After breakfast, you leave the greater Mana Pools area on a five-hour bus ride to the unassuming town of Chinhoyi. On the way, you stop for a break at the town of Karoi, where you again have the opportunity to mingle with the locals and discover their everyday life. The people of Karoi are much different from the Tonga people you met earlier. Zimbabwe surprises you every day, and today is no exception. After lunch, you continue on to Chinhoyi, home to the luminous Chinhoyi Caves. You explore the caves, where some brave explorers go scuba diving in their breathtaking pools of brilliant blue water. It looks like fun, but you prefer to enjoy their beauty from above. You emerge from the caves and open your eyes again to the sky, taking with you yet another impression of Zimbabwe that changes your perspective. Back on the bus, you head back to your lodge, where you end the night with another delicious dinner. Overnight: Pamuzinda Safari Lodge (or similar) (BLD)

Day 10. Just Another Day on Safari

Yesterday was amazing, and you find it difficult to imagine what can top the beauty of the Chinhoyi Caves. After breakfast, you visit the nearby Chengeta Primary and Secondary School (only on school days), which was built by the operators of the Pamuzinda Safari Lodge for more than 750 local children. As you learn about the story behind the school, your heart warms at the sense of community here. You say goodbye to the school and take the day to explore the area around the lodge on horseback or on foot to see local wildlife. Lunch is served outdoors under a big fig tree, and that evening, you enjoy a farewell dinner and a performance by traditional dancers that seems to bring all of your experiences together into a single moment. Overnight: Pamuzinda Safari Lodge (or similar) (BLD)

Day 11. Goodbye, Zimbabwe!

At breakfast, you fill your belly for the short bus ride to Harare International Airport. You listen to the conversations about this life-changing trip and look forward to returning home, where you can share your experiences with friends and family. Before leaving, you take a final safari walk around the lodge. As you watch the wildlife that has become so familiar to you over the past 10 days, you can’t help but feel that you are leaving something behind. (B)

(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

Discover one of Africa’s hidden treasures on an unforgettable journey amid Zimbabwe’s natural beauty. Explore magnificent waterfalls, pristine national parks, and enjoy thrilling wildlife safaris. The Victoria Falls are one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. Lake Kariba is the largest human-made lake in the world by volume. These are just two of the highlights of your exclusive houseboat adventure in Zimbabwe!

Rates Include

  • 4 nights on board the houseboat according to the category booked
  • 2 nights in a safari lodge near Victoria Falls
  • 2 nights in a safari camp close to Mana Pools National Park
  • 2 nights in a lodge near Harare
  • English-speaking guide throughout journey from Victoria Falls to Harare
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary
  • All excursions and sightseeing, including admission fees
  • Transportation to and from airport on the first and last day of the itinerary
  • Transportation in air-conditioned buses to destinations specified in the itinerary

Hotels Planned

Victoria Falls: 2 nights, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Mana Pools National Park: 2 nights, Mana Pools Safari Lodge
Harare: 2 nights, Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

Not Included

  • Add-on activities like the Victoria Falls helicopter flight (180 USD p.p.) or the Victoria Falls Bridge walking tour (65 USD p.p.)
  • Visa fees
  • Gratuities
  • International flights

Entry Requirements

  • Passport and visa required
  • No vaccinations are prescribed

Important Notes

  • Minimum number of 14 passengers, maximum number of guests: 18
  • Please understand that we must reserve the right to alter the itinerary—e.g. because of unfavorable weather conditions or changes on the part of the local authorities
  • This journey is generally not for guests with limited mobility or who depend on CPAP machines. Please contact us for more information about your specific requirements before booking

Standard Cabins

There are nine Standard cabins on board the Umbozha with various configurations.

3 cabins with 1 double bed and 2 bunk beds
2 cabins with 1 twin bed and 2 bunk beds
2 cabins with 1 double bed

Private bathroom
Private shower
Air conditioning

Master Cabins

The Umbozha has two Master cabins, each with one queen-sized bed.

Private bathroom
Private shower
Air conditioning
Includes deluxe accommodation in safari lodges


  • Guaranteed
  • Available
  • Limited
  • Waiting List
  • Excursions and lectures conducted in: EN=English


Dates StandardMaster
Price $
24 Aug 21 - 03 Sep 21ENExcursions and lectures conducted in: English
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
Total price $
Supplement for occupancy with 3 or 4 persons for Standard category available upon request