Paddle through gentle waves as African penguins swim beside you. Watch colorful fish dart through shallow coastal waters. Watch elephants and zebras wade on a river’s edge, undisturbed by your quiet, self-powered craft.
Canoeing and kayaking offer incomparable encounters with African wildlife. Paddling can be a morning or afternoon activity that adds variety to your safari, or you can take a multi-day canoe or kayak trip—paddle by day, and stop at night to rest at a lodge or supported campsite.
If you’ve never paddle before but want to try, you can hire a guide to do the steering while you get used to the motions of paddling and enjoy the surrounding scenery.
Here, we offer some of our favorite canoeing and kayaking spots in Africa to inspire your travel planning. We’ve grouped them by country, in alphabetical order from Botswana to Zimbabwe. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a newbie, traveling by water is an incomparable way to see Africa!