Experiencing Africa: A Sundowner Cruise On The Zambezi

From the minute we arrived in Africa we were in love. But one of our favourite experiences from the trip was a sundowner cruise at sunset along the Zambezi River. It’s an absolute must do when visiting Zimbabwe and the Zambezi region, and truly an experience unlike any other for visitors to Africa.

From the minute we arrived at Victoria Falls Airport we could tell that Zimbabwe was going to be significantly different to any other place we had travelled. For one thing, the whole airport, including the domestic and international departures and arrivals, and immigration and customs, was all squished together in a building that could not have been much bigger than a regular suburban house in Australia.

It was crazy, but we immediately loved it.

hippos in the zambezi

First impressions of Zimbabwe

From the moment we stepped of the plane, Victoria Falls really made us feel like we were in Africa.

The road had caution signs, warning drivers to watch out for crossing elephants and cheetahs. Our bus driver instructed us that to the left of the highway was where animals lived, and to the right of the road was where the villages were.

It seemed totally unbelievable that the only thing dividing the two areas was a thin road. Surely that had to be just as dangerous as it seemed??

Check out the best places to stay in Victoria Falls

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elephant on the banks of the zambezihippo in zimbabwe

We hadn’t even really heard about the Zambezi River cruise before we arrived, but everyone was talking about it. Literally from the airport staff, to the concierge at the hotel and even other guests walking around, everyone will let you know that a Sundowner cruise is the can’t miss thing to do in Victoria Falls.

Upon arrival at our hotel the staff were extremely helpful and efficient in organising our sunset river cruise for that evening. We were picked up from our hotel and driven down to the river bank, where we embarked on a leisurely 3 hour cruise around the Zambezi.

It was amazing.

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This was our first time seeing hippos in their natural habitat and in the wild, and even though you’re seeing it with your own eyes, it’s unbelievable. It’s hard to fathom that these wild animals are exactly that – wild. Free to roam wherever they like around the countryside of Zimbabwe with nothing really stopping them from doing whatever they want.

Explore all the adventures and safaris you can take from Victoria Falls

zambezi sunsetdeer on the banks of the zambezizambezi's local beer

There were hippos all over the river – some alone and some in groups swimming together. As silly as it sounds I was so excited just to see the famous hippo ear wiggle in real life. It’s just so cute!

It was just so exciting to be cruising along the river and out of nowhere spot two little ears wiggling above the surface. If you’re not searching it would be so easy to miss them!

We even saw an elephant on the bank of the river, just having a snack on the greenery along the river and enjoying the late afternoon sun!

The cruise concludes with by far the most beautiful sunset we have ever been lucky enough to experience. It left me speechless and just so thankful that I had finally made it to Africa!

Book now: Sunset cruises on the Zambezi

zambezi sunsethippos in the zambezi

The Zambezi river sundowner cruise

We booked our river cruise directly with our hotel through the Zambezi Safari & Travel Company.

The Sundowner sunset cruise cost us $45 USD per person, which includes food and drinks while you’re on the water. Each boat is equipped with a bar, and you can try a famous Zambezi Lager whilst on board.

Our tour guides were extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife we were observing as well as life on the river and the area. Seeing this incredible animals this way is a completely unique experience, and we can not recommend a cruise on the Zambezi highly enough. It’s absolutely a must-do when spending time in Zimbabwe!

Check out the Zambezi Safari & Travel Company website for more information on our cruise and all the other tours and experience they offer in Victoria Falls.

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cruise on the zambezi

Happy travels,



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Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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Just two twenty-something married Aussies, visiting as many places as we can in between normal life, and hoping to inspire and offer advice for your travel planning.

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