It is a dream of many to go to Africa. They want to see the vast variety of rare and endangered animals happy and free in the wild. They want to see them “at home” in their place of origin. In Africa, today, this is easily achieved. In fact, taking part in one of the continent’s many African wildlife safaris is quite easy – and always an adventure. It is certainly something worth trying at least once in your lifetime.
African wildlife safaris come in many different shapes and forms. You can become part of a walking wildlife safari, you can ride a camel or an elephant as part of a safari, or you can even use a bike. One other means of getting up close and personal to Africa’s wildlife involves taking a boat. African wildlife safaris by boat have become a popular way to see what the continent has to offer.
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
The Moremi Game Reserve is a waterbird’s paradise. This reserve lies in the only portion of Botswana where water is plentiful all year round – the Okavengo Delta. It is a massive oasis which attracts animals from miles around. While many individuals include this as part of their African wildlife safaris game drive, others prefer to enhance the adventure and go by boat.
Moremi offers safaris by dugout canoe or mokoro (a dug-out wooden boat). In fact, these boats are essential if you want to view the wildlife, particularly birds and hippos, in their natural environment. Along the Khwai and Moanachir Rivers, for example, you can view more than 18 different members of the heron family. This includes Goliath herons, slaty egrets, white-bellied night herons and black egrets.
High above your head, you can see raptors circling against a bright blue sky. There are African fish eagles, tawny eagles, black-breasted snake eagles and martial eagles. Depending upon the time of day (or night) you may see owls. Near the deeper channels of flowing water, you can watch blue wildebeests, impalas, red lechwes and waterbucks. You can also see elephants, buffaloes and Birchell’s zebras.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
If you are interested in a ride aboard a launch, consider joining this version of African wildlife safaris. You can take a two-hour trip along the Kazinga Channel which runs between Lake Edward (Lake Rwitanzige) and Lake George. The boat safari provides great viewing opportunities. There are a variety of waterfowl for you to see and, a highlight of many boat trips, bathing hippos.
Murchison (Kabalega Falls) National Park, Uganda
Murchison Falls National Park offers their very own African wildlife safaris. You can choose between two different boat trips. One takes you from Paraa Lodge to the foot of Murchison Falls. Along the way, you can snap photos of hippos, crocodiles, buffalo and elephant. Bird lovers can see some of the park’s 400 species, including the red-throated bee-eater, the piapiae, the silverbird and the black-headed gonolek.
The other option is a four to five hour cruise which sails from Paraa Lodge to the Payrus Delta of the Victoria Nile – touching where the water flows into Lake Albert. The banks are lined with enormous tamarind trees. The park, however, is predominantly grassy plains mixed with savannah woodlands. Birds for viewing include the elusive shoebill stork.
Boating safaris are a unique version of African wildlife safaris. They allow you to view the various forms of wildlife up close and/or at a distance – a very civilised adventure! From Chobe National Park in Botswana to the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, boat safaris entice you to leave the land behind for an unforgettable day on the water.