Zambezi River Sunset Cruise

African QueenThe mighty Zambezi River, at about 1,700 miles in length, is Africa’s 4th longest river, behind the Nile, Congo and Niger Rivers. However, it is the longest of the African rivers that flow East. Starting in NW Zambia, close to the borders with Angola and Congo, the Zambezi flows through 6 countries before discharging into the Indian Ocean.

Probably best known for fury and thunder of Victoria Falls, which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post, as today I will describe our contrasting serene sunset cruise aboard the African Queen.We were picked up at the hotel, along with about another dozen guests, for the short 10 to 15 minute drive to the dock. Boarding the vessel almost immediately we found her to be a basic catamaran hull with 2 outboard engines and 2 passenger decks. Judi and I headed upstairs and found a table by the Stbd bow, affording an excellent view of the impending voyage.

The African Queen

The African Queen

Both above photos courtesy of African Queen Website

This is the view from our seats, while still alongside the dock, looking up the Zambezi River. The quiet, calm water is an extreme contrast to the thunderous noise and raging spray only a couple of miles down river at the Falls.

Zambezi Cruise looking up river from dock with rays of sunshine

Zambezi Cruise looking up river from dock with rays of sunshine

Immediately after sitting down, one of the young ladies came over, welcomed us aboard, introduced herself and explained the complimentary drinks selection. Wow, 2 hour cruise and free drinks, wish I knew about this back in my 20’s. When your glass was empty, the young lady was back with a full replacement. Wonderful service.

Once everybody was aboard the lines were cast off and we departed, setting a course up river towards the ever sinking sun.

Zambesi River cruise looking upriver with interesting cloud formation shortly before sunset

Zambezi River cruise looking upriver with interesting cloud formation shortly before sunset

The voyage upriver was only about 4 miles and it took about 90 minutes, so this definitely wasn’t a high speed run. We meandered slowly along the river bank, but other than birds didn’t see any animals.

On clearing the island on the Port side the Captain turned us across the channel, with our side of the boat facing the impending sunset.

Zambesi River cruise with sunset through palm fronds

Zambesi River cruise with sunset through palm fronds

The above photograph was taken through the palm fronds beside our table, as we turned across the channel. I am quite impressed with how this photograph turned out. Next few photographs capture the sun slowly sinking below the horizon.

Zambezi River Cruise at sunset with sunbursts

Zambezi River Cruise at sunset with sunbursts

Zambezi River cruise looking up river just after the sun set

Zambezi River cruise looking up river just after the sun set

Zambezi River cruise just after the sun set

Zambezi River cruise just after the sun set

Once the sun disappeared below the horizon, the Captain completed the turn and headed back to the dock, at much higher speed. While it took 90 min outbound we did the return in about 20 mins.

Heading back we enjoyed conversation with the tables around us, which continued on the return to the hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed this very pleasant, peaceful and relaxing evening, which will be a complete contrast when we brave the fury of Victoria Falls tomorrow.

If you ever visit this area, we highly recommend this for a quiet and enjoyable evening.

2 thoughts on “Zambezi River Sunset Cruise

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