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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
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, 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 vessel
used by David Livingstone
modern smaller boat on the Zambezi River
The Ra Ikane fleet
Breakfast on the Zambezi
Lunch spread on the afternoon cruise
There are three monohull 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 boasts 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 of the boats, the size make them more special
and intimate. Most boats on the Zambezi are large pontoon cruise vessels, which
unlike the Ra Ikane, means that they cannot explore some of the channels on the
river, or get a little closer to the Falls.
On each boat is a crew of three - the knowledgeable captain, the guide, and
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
"Our boats take a circular route around the islands to provide guests with a panoramic view of the upper and lower Zambezi River and the wildlife and birdlife it offers" - Ra-Ikane
Each cruise is about 2 hours long, and comes with the meals
and/or snacks, as well as the beverages served on board. Pickup and drop off at
your hotel/town lodge as well as national parks fee (river usage fee) are also
included in the rate.
From about 6:30am, guests are picked up from
Victoria Falls hotels and lodges
and taken to the pontoon at Ilala Lodge to board the Ra-Ikane. Watch the sunrise
over the Zambezi and capture moments of the elephants and other animals coming
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, yogurts, jams and cheeses, are served with your
teas and coffees. This cruise drops off from about 9:30am.
Pickups begin at 11:30am from the various hotels/lodges to Ilala Lodge. 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 of at around 2:15pm.
This is usually when a lot of the wildlife come down to the river, although
the hippos are a constant sight. It is not unusual to spot elephants playing in
the water, crocs along the river's edge, or waterbuck grazing near the river
banks. This is the most popular of the cruise options, and many of the operators
are on the river at this time of the day. However, being a small boat means that
the Ra-Ikane does get to go through channels less traversed, and to the islands
upstream that the bigger boats don't go to. Canapés are served on this trip, along with a large range of beverages from the bar. Pickup for this trip begins at
4pm (summer) or 3:30pm (winter), and guests are dropped off from 18:30pm.
For the bird-lovers and curious travellers alike, 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 giant kingfisher, the rarer African fin foot if you are
lucky, or the African Fisheagle. This is a very quiet time on the river, and
there aren't very many boats around. The best time for birding in this area is
probably during the rainy season between November and April. Teas and freshly
made pastries are on the menu, along with fruit platters, cheeses and biscuits.
Pickup is from 6:30am, and drop-off is at about 9:30am.
What you will need to bring
• Comfortable shoes such as sneakers or shoes with a bit of grip
• 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
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