Top Three Africa Countries For Safaris On Water

Safari holidays feature heavily on travel bucket lists, and it’s no surprise: they are a truly unique adventure.

Game drives and walking tours are the priorities of most when they go on a safari trip, but Africa also boasts some incredible water-based experiences. Enjoy a hugely diverse range of animal encounters cruising along with hippos and crocodiles for company on these three top African countries for safaris on water.


Dusty plains and acacia trees are the images that spring to mind upon the hearing of the word safari, but game drives aren’t the only way of spotting wild animals in their natural habitat.

For water safaris, you can’t go wrong in Botswana; it is a beautiful, vibrant country, which offers all kinds of wonderful wildlife experiences. One of the best ways to explore is to navigate the waterways aboard a boat. The Okavango Delta is the star of the show when it comes to water-based safari voyages. Many of the traditional wooden mokoro boats have been replaced by more modern, faster vehicles but travellers are still treated to an eco-friendly and authentic safari experience.

But here, the animals are the stars of the show. Look out for elephants, leopards, buffalo, lions and cheetah drinking on the banks or striding, sprinting or scuttling around the delta plains. From the comfort of your boat, keep watch for the beady eyes of crocodiles and enjoy the sight of hippos wallowing in the muddy water.


In Tanzania, avoid the crowds of the Serengeti and head to the lesser-known Selous Game Reserve instead. This is the place for a relaxing, serene river cruise offering a different spin on the traditional safari.

The Rufiji River, which runs through the park, offers an idyllic setting for a wildlife encounter that has an impossibly romantic feel to it. The waters are calm, the scenery is spectacular and you can watch crocodiles and hippos basking on the shores as the sun goes down.

The river comprises five lakes which are fused together by a network of narrow waterways. There are over 440 bird species in this area alone and this is the only park in Tanzania that offers river safaris.

An undiscovered gem, this is the place to be if you want to relax with nothing but the sound of rolling rapids and birdsong for company. Away from the river banks, you’ll find a host of land mammals, including a population of over 100,000 wildebeest, 35,000 zebra and large herds of giraffe, kudu and waterbucks. This reserve is also famed for its packs of endangered African wild dogs.


The Zambezi River is one of the largest and most influential waterways in Africa. As well as playing host to visitors keen to catch a glimpse of the thundering Victoria Falls, the river is also a major draw for those hoping to combine traditional game drives with a safari on the water.

A boat tour on the Zambezi plays host to incredible vistas of the surrounding scenery as well as amazing opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the continent’s most precious species.Lucky visitors will spot herds of elephants cooling down with a refreshing dip or herds of buffalo, zebra and giraffe enjoying a drink on the water’s edge.

The Zambezi is a vital watering hole, but the river is also a fantastic place to spot local bird species. It is estimated that there are 400 different species, so bird spotters will be in their element!

Swapping the Savannah for the river is the perfect way to embrace a different kind of safari adventure. Water safaris are authentic experiences but also a chance to see a diverse range of wildlife from a different perspective. Keep your eyes peeled for fish, birds, crocodiles and hippos in the water and look out for elephants, buffalo and zebra quenching their thirst on the river banks!