Ra-Ikane River Cruise

Ra-Ikane River Cruise

A river cruise on the Upper Zambezi is justifiably one of the most popular activities around the Victoria Falls – and how special to experience it on a small boat reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart's African Queen?

From the plethora of cruises available, we’ve picked some of our favourites, with the Ra-Ikane River Cruise really standing out from the crowd. Although it’s operated by Ilala Lodge, this cruise is available to anyone staying in the vicinity of Victoria Falls town..

The Ra-Ikane River Cruise’s 12-seater boats are much smaller than those used by many other operators in the area. As well as offering a much more personal experience, these boats have a much shallower draft, allowing them to explore the quieter side channels of the river, and get much closer to the Victoria Falls themselves.

The Details

Starting from a pontoon at Ilala Lodge in the town of Victoria Falls, the Ra-Ikane River Cruise takes in two different sections of the river. Your boat will explore some of the upper sections of the river, where the Zambezi is flanked by the Mosi-Oa-Tunya and Zambezi national parks, taking you alongside channels and islands, and offering a fantastic chance of seeing elephants, hippo, crocodiles and some stunning birdlife. The cruise will also take you towards the Victoria Falls, with some fantastic views of the spray thrown up by the waterfall, particularly when the river is in full flood.

Choose from three different times of day for your cruise:

  • Breakfast cruise
    Pick-up time: summer (August to April) 6.30am; winter (May to August) 7.30am

    Starting at dawn, the breakfast cruise offers an opportunity to see the sun rise over the Zambezi River, with the golden light and clear air perfect for capturing the elephants coming down to the river for their morning drink. Fresh coffee and tea accompany a continental breakfast.

  • Lunch cruise
    Pick-up time: 11.45am

    The Zambezi River provides a stunning backdrop for a midday meal, with a buffet of cold meats, fresh salads, and a selection of cheese and biscuits provided by Ilala Lodge's Palm Restaurant. A well-stocked bar provides cold beers, South African wines, spirits and soft drinks.

  • Sunset cruise
    Pick-up time: summer (August to April) 4.00pm; winter (May to August) 3.30pm

    With a heightened chance of seeing wildlife coming down to the river to drink, and stunning sunsets reflecting off the Zambezi River, the evening cruise is one of the most popular options, enhanced by an array of canapés and a well-stocked bar.

Start location/time: Each cruise starts from Ilala Lodge, but pick-ups can be arranged from any property in Victoria Falls town. The start time will depend on the time of year and your choice of cruise.

Duration of excursion: Each cruise lasts for two hours, with transfer times an additional 5–30 minutes, depending on where you are staying.

End location: The excursion will end at your accommodation in Victoria Falls.

Maximum size of group: Each of the three boats can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Meals included: Drinks are included on all cruises, and breakfast, lunch or canapés will be provided depending on the time of your cruise.

Please note: Expert Africa only books excursions as a part of a full, Expert Africa itinerary.