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
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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Falcon Safaris is a moderate-to-luxury safari operator dedicated to providing guests with the ultimate African experience. Get more ideas on what to do on the Victoria Falls Travel Guide
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We travelled with Falcon Safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana for 16 days. Falcon designed a wonderful trip with private guide to the most interesting sites in both countries. The organization of the whole trip was excellent, flights within the country, accommodation and activites. The guides were very knowledgable and told us a lot about the countries, their history, people, economy and much more. Wevisited the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the Victoria Falls and a number of national parks in both countries.
Rhino tracking was a real adventure! We had tremendous further game drives and saw very many animals - we did the Big Five. We had much more activities than planned and enjoyed very much.We strongly recommend Falcon Safaris to everyone planning a trip to Southern Africa and East Africa.
Our Consultant Vimbai was very helpful and accommodating. We stayed at the Elephant hills hotel which was nothing short of amazing.Our activities included a helicopter flight, dinner cruise as well as a morning game drive. All the activities were absolutely amazing.
We worked with Gertrude to schedule and organize everything and she did an excellent job. I asked a lot of questions via e-mail and she answered everyone in a timely helpful manner. Our guide at Victoria Falls was also great. He met us at the airport, provided a thoughtful tour of the Falls and got us to our next guide in Botswana. Our lodgings at River View Lodge were just as described- very comfortable and excellent food. All the staff were so pleasant and helpful. If I had to do it again I would arrange a morning boat ride as well. We only did the sunset boat rides and they were the high point of our entire trip- we saw so many animals and our guide was very knowledgeable. Just a great experience. Our lodgings at Oddball's Enclave was rustic and we loved it. So great to disconnect from the world for a bit. Leo, our guide, was the best - got us out and about, saw fantastic wildlife and got back to camp safely each time. Doc manages the camp so well. This whole trip was planned and organized by Falcon Safaris and we could not have been happier.
Falcon safaris have given my the correct advice with excellent service. The only suggestion will be to work closer with the lodges to confirm bookings as soon as possible. We have booked and pay our deposit a year in advance. We have only receive our final convermation from Chobe Safari lodge a week before departure. I do realize its not within your controle but with limit alternatives and a group of 14 people it becomes an issue to find alternative accomodation if the booking was cancelled.
Our passion for Africa and her rich diversity is what drives us to deliver superior itineraries for you. With over 30 years’ unrivalled experience, we believe your trip should be as unique as you are and so we tailor-make them for you as an individual.