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Ra Ikane Cruises

Romance and luxury, this cruise is a special experience on the Zambezi River with a variety of options from birding and breakfast cruises to sunset cruises

Ra Ikane luxury Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River - Victoria Falls activities, Zimbabwe

On the Zambezi River at sunset

One of the luxury river cruise experiences in Victoria Falls, the Ra Ikane is named after an important guide and aid during David Livingstone's expeditions of Africa, including his discovery of the largest waterfall in the world. A young Lazarus Raikane and David Livingstone met at the Kuruman missionary in South Africa.

The 'Ma Robert' steam boat on which David Livingstone attempted an upstream trip of the Zambezi River

The Ma Robert vessel used by David Livingstone
The Ra Ikane on the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The modern smaller boat on the Zambezi River
The Ra Ikane fleet, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The Ra Ikane fleet
Breakfast on the Zambezi River on the Ra Ikane boat. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Breakfast on the Zambezi
Lunch spread on the afternoon Ra Ikane cruise Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Lunch spread on the afternoon cruise

There are three mono-hull boats in the fleet, each one designed to look like the elegant Ma Robert vessel that David Livingstone and his crew used to attempt to navigate the Zambezi River from the coast in Mozambique up to the Victoria Falls area - yes, upstream!

The vessels resemble a turn of the century riverboat and boast a teak superstructure and brass fittings that epitomise Victorian splendour in Africa. Teak tables are dotted around the carpeted floor to fit three people at each, but the open plan allows guests to roam easily between them.

Two of the boats in the fleet are 16-seaters, and the one boat is a smaller 12-seater. Apart from the luxurious look and feel of each boat, their size makes them special and intimate. At certain water levels, the Ra Ikane likes to cruise through many of the smaller channels between the islands.

On each boat is a crew of three - the knowledgeable captain, the guide, and the waiter.

Ra Ikane River Cruises

The river cruises not only offer a personal river safari, but also top service and delicious meals, which are served with premium drinks while you enjoy the scenic beauty of the Zambezi River and its inhabitants.

"Our boats take a circular route around the islands to provide guests with a panoramic view of the upper Zambezi River and the wildlife and birdlife it offers" - Ra-Ikane cruises.

Each cruise lasts about 2 hours and comes with meals and/or snacks, as well as the beverages. Pickup and drop off at your hotel/town lodge as well as national parks fee (river usage fee) are included in the rate.

Breakfast Cruise
From about 6:30 am, guests are picked up from their Victoria Falls hotels and lodges and transferred to Ilala's jetty site to board the Ra-Ikane. Watch the sunrise over the Zambezi and capture moments as elephants and other animals come to the river to quench their morning thirst. A continental breakfast and freshly brewed coffee is included in the experience. Eats such as pastries, freshly baked bread, fruit platters, yoghurts, jams and cheeses, are served with your teas and coffees. This cruise drops off at about 9:30 am.

Lunch Cruise
Pickups begin at 11:30 am from the various hotels/lodges to Ilala's jetty. On this cruise, refreshing drinks are served while the Ra Ikane takes you along the banks of the Zambezi. A buffet of fresh cold meats, salads and cheeses are provided by The Palm Restaurant. A fine selection of beers, spirits, wines and soft-drinks are provided in a fully stocked bar. After the cruise, guests are dropped off at around 2:15 pm.

Sunset Cruise
This is usually when most wildlife come down to the river. Hippos and crocodiles are ever-present but it is not unusual to spot elephants playing in the water or giraffe, buffalo and waterbuck grazing near the river banks. Canapés are served, along with a large range of beverages from the bar. Pickup begins at 4 pm (summer) or 3:30 pm (winter), and guests are dropped off at about 18:30 pm.

Birding Cruise
For the bird-lovers - the Zambezi River is home to about 460 bird species, some of which are unique to the Victoria Falls area. The early morning Ra Ikane birding cruise provides an opportunity to relax and spot species such as the malachite kingfisher, the rare African finfoot, white-backed night-heron or the African Fish eagle. This is a very quiet time on the river, and there aren't very many boats around. Teas and freshly made pastries are on the menu, along with fruit platters, cheeses and biscuits. Pickup is from 6:30 am, and drop-off is at about 9:30 am.

River Odyssey

The River Odyssey is the newest member of the Ra-Ikane fleet, and latest luxury offering. This 22m luxury boat offers up to 30 guests an upper and lower level view of the Zambezi River on one of three cruises - Breakfast, Lunch and Sunset cruise.

The River Odyssey cruise on the Zambezi River from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

What you will need to bring

• Comfortable shoes such as sneakers or shoes with a bit of grip
• Activity voucher/ticket from your agent
• Sunglasses
• Warm clothes during winter months, particularly if you are going for the early morning trips
• Camera and/or binoculars


Children under 12 years of age pay 50% of the adult rate


Here is a video of the Ra-Ikane experience

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by Sally (Blisworth, U.K.)
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