• Gemma Fottles

Listen to the tourists and go on a Zambezi river safari

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Spending two weeks in Zambia as part of the See the World with SPAR travel reporting job was one of the highlights of my 4-month stint travelling the world. The Zambezi river was the gift that just kept on giving and, after initially scoffing at the idea of a tous cruise down the river, the experience soon showed me it was the most amazing thing I would see in Africa.

What happens on a sunset Zambezi river cruise?

Magic, baby. Literally magic. We boarded the boat in the late afternoon and was greeted with a selection of drinks and snacks. We made our way to the spacious deck and I was taken aback by how much we could see. But first off, let me explain why I was hesitant about going on a sunset river cruise. The first reason? It's something my parents - nee, my grandparents - would look forward to doing on their travels. For a young twenty-something-year-old backpacker, I honestly felt like a river cruise was going to be boring. Was I wrong? Spoiler: I was. Very.

Elephants at the side of the Zambezi, Zambia

If I had stopped scoffing at the touristy, middle-aged elements of a sunset river cruise, I would have quickly figured out that the main appeal of Zambia is, of course, the incredible nature that is literally all around you. And, actually, there was no better place to spot some of Africa's most impressive animals than from the safety of a riverboat.


The animals of Zambia

I watched a family of hippos dip their huge nostrils in and out of the water; spotted a couple of HUGE crocodiles slithering their way under the surface, and watched more beastly bison grazing by the banks than I ever thought possible. Watching the sunset over the river, beer in hand, surrounded by these creatures I suspected may only exist in storybooks was a moment I’ll never forget! And do you know what else I'll never forget? A lesson learned: stop judging travel activities by a certain image or perception you have attached to it. More often than not, poo-pooing a 'lame' tourist activity may only result in your missing out on the travel experience of a lifetime.


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