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
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 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 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
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 Zambezi River and the wildlife and birdlife it offers" - Ra-Ikane
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.
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.
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.
This is usually when most wildlife come down to the river.
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.
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.
What you will need to bring
• Comfortable shoes such as sneakers or shoes with a bit of grip
• Activity voucher/ticket from your agent
• 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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