Before You Go

Zambezi River & Botswana Safari


Trip Snapshot

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips in the area, and sometimes the weather. Please refer to your confirmation letter for the exact dates of your trip.

MEETING PLACE:Livingstone International Airport, Zambia
MEETING TIME:Arrive by 2 PM or earlier on day 1
RETURN TIME:Day 8 for flights departing after 12 PM
TRIP LENGTH:8 days/7 nights
BOAT OPTIONS:Rafting, Wildlife Safari

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1

You will be met by an OARS representative at the Livingstone Airport in Livingstone, Zambia, and provided transport to our hotel—the David Livingstone Safari Lodge. It’s best to arrive by 2 PM on day 1 of your trip to allow time to pass through immigration and customs and check in to our hotel—all prior to our sunset river cruise.

We’ll meet in the hotel lobby at 3:45 PM and embark on a cruise on the upper section of the Zambezi River. Later this evening there will be a group meeting where you’ll have the opportunity to meet your guides, pick up your dry bags, and get an overview of your next seven days. 

Days 2 – 7 

Refer to the trip page for a more detailed sample itinerary. 

Day 8

During breakfast our final day we may have one last chance to see Botswana’s unique wildlife before packing our bags and enjoying a scenic drive to the border. You will be then transported back to the Livingstone International Airport, arriving in time for flights departing after 12 PM. 

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Skilled, professional guide service provided by our affiliate operator
  • All meals from breakfast day 2 through breakfast day 8 (indicated as B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner)
  • 3 nights catered camping
  • 4 nights lodging (based on double occupancy)
  • High-quality inflatable rafts and related equipment, including waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip
  • Two-person tents on a shared basis (you may pay a fee for a single-occupancy tent)
  • Sleep kit—consisting of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow
  • Personal flotation device (PFD), which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with safety regulations
  • Eating utensils, cups, and plates
  • Transfers from and to Livingstone Airport on scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • All park fees and necessary permits
  • Gratuities for incidental services, such as bellboys, drivers, servers, etc.
  • 27-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation to and from Livingstone, Zambia
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodation and meals
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Single supplement fee
  • Airport taxes and fees
  • Airport arrival & departure transfers on dates outside the itinerary
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan or mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage
  • Items of a personal nature (see suggested packing list below)
  • Gratuities for a lead guide, rafting guides, and safari guide

optional Extras

  • Video/DVD of your river trip (not guaranteed and pricing is at the discretion of the videographer)
  • Optional activities in/around Livingstone (ask your OARS Adventure Consultant for more details)

Getting Ready

Pre-Trip Checklist

Purchase Travel Protection: In order to take part in this trip, each participant must have a minimum of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage in place for the dates of the trip. This can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can learn more about the plan we highly recommend and get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0.

Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.

Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation email for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.

Reserve flights, shuttles, and lodging: Verify with your adventure consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable. It is important to make reservations early as rooms may be limited during peak travel periods.

Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. 

Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. If you exceed 260 pounds, please give us a call. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.

River Runners’ Responsibility Code

1. Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.

2. Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.

3. Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.

4. Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.

5. Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.

6. Abide by the managing agency’s rules.

7. No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip.; alcohol is allowed in moderation in camp on overnight trips.

8. Minimize your impact on the environment.

9. Wear the OARS-issued and properly–fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when in the boats or swimming. Wear a helmet when required.

10. Your children are your responsibility!

Essential Travel Documents


If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date to see that it is valid for at least 6 months from your planned entry into Zambia. It also must have at least three blank pages. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. It is also a good idea to leave a copy with your emergency contact at home. We also request that you send us a copy to keep on file for emergencies during your trip. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement. Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage.


A visa is not required for entry into Zambia for USA and Canadian citizens. If you plan to visit the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, a visa is required for for entry into Zimbabwe. Visas can be obtained in advance online or arranged at the border upon arrival.

Travel Arrangements


Livingstone’s Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) is served daily by Proflight Zambia and South African Airways via Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa. Each flight is scheduled to arrive before 1 PM.

Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, South African Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, and others fly between the U.S. and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Note: flights from the U.S. depart one or two days prior to your arrival date in Livingstone. Return flights arrive back in the U.S. one day later than your departure from Livingstone.

Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics. Our partners at Exito Travel specialize in international destinations and we’d be happy to obtain a quote from them on your behalf.


Your first night accommodation is included in the trip. If you decide to arrive a day or two early, we recommend that you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging—Livingstone is a popular destination. While there are many accommodation options in Livingstone, we recommend staying at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge (where we will stay on day 1 of your trip). Please let us know if you would like OARS to book additional nights at the lodge (pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost).

Useful Information

Time ZoneS

Zambia is two hours ahead of GMT, which is six hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast and nine hours ahead of the West Coast.


There are many languages spoken in Zambia, with Bemba and English being the most common. You’ll find that most locals are able to speak English well.

Money Matters

The local currency in Zambia is the Kwacha (ZMW). As most aspects of your trip are taken care of, the money you will need to bring is limited. You can pay for many items by credit card (at hotels and most restaurants), although we recommend traveling with a small amount of U.S. dollars in small denominations. ($10 and $20 notes are good). The Zambian Kwacha is only available inside Zambia, so you cannot purchase Kwacha prior to your trip. Kwacha can be obtained by exchanging U.S. dollars or at local ATMs – at the airport or in town. We recommend being prepared to use a combination of credit card, Kwacha, and U.S. dollars. We suggest having Kwacha for souvenirs, incidental gratuities, or purchases at small shops.

There are ATM machines in Livingstone that will provide you with Zambian Kwacha. A more reliable method is to bring U.S. dollars to exchange at local banks or registered money changers. Most places will take either U.S. dollars or Zambian Kwacha. As a general rule, you should exchange your money with local banks or foreign exchange bureaus. Your guides will be happy to do this on your behalf.

There are ATMs available on the main street in Livingstone town where you can withdraw cash. If your credit card has been programmed with a PIN, it’s likely you can use an ATM to withdraw money as a cash advance. Always ask your bank before you leave home about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad, the limit each day, and also let them know where you are going so they do not put a hold on your card. You may be charged a fee for each transaction.

For the safari section of your trip, the local currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP). Any drinks etc may be paid for at the lodge in Botswana with a credit card. ATMs are available in Botswana.

If you only have one credit card, VISA is the most widely accepted. A shopkeeper may require you to pay the credit card fee for purchases, so for the most ease, we recommend you use cash whenever possible. American Express is not accepted in general. Be sure to inform your bank that you’ll be using your card during your travels.

Recommended cash to bring is about US$350. You may need to have money available for the following:

  • Gifts and souvenirs. Some meals, as outlined in the itinerary, and drinks.
  • Gratuities (more information is below)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • A trip video and/or photos (if available, we can not assure they will be offered)

Health & Medical Info

There are no required immunizations, however, we recommend you contact your doctor or local travel clinic for information about recommended “routine” vaccinations. They may suggest you get inoculated against Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Meningitis. 

Malaria: Anti-Malarial prophylaxis is not typically recommended for the locations where this trip takes place, as much of Zambia is not in a malaria zone; however, we recommend you contact your doctor or local travel clinic for more information. Learn more about CDC recommendations.

Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with this is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally, it is best to let diarrhea run its course. However, you may want to bring over-the-counter medication to minimize your potential discomfort.

Altitude should not be an issue, as Livingstone is located at 3,235 feet above sea level.

CPAP Machine

If you require the use of a CPAP machine and intend to bring one with you, be sure to alert your OARS Adventure Consultant prior to your trip to let us know the dimensions of the machine, description of battery(s), and any protective case(s). Travel-sized CPAPs are readily available and often come with a battery kit. You must assess the power needs of your CPAP and bring the battery(s) needed to operate it for each night of your travels. We’re typically able to accommodate the transportation of your machine and accessories on the trip; however, please understand that despite efforts to protect your equipment we can’t guarantee your machine and accessories won’t suffer water or impact damage and therefore we recommend additional protective case(s) for your machine & accessories.


We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan, and many allergy-restricted diets. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our locations, so feel free to bring your own favorite snacks to supplement our provisions.

We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, the availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).


We recommend you drink only bottled, previously boiled, or treated water. Bottled water is widely available in Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. During the river trip, all water is filtered and treated.

Beverages / Alcohol

The trip cost does not include alcohol. If you have specific beverage requests, please let us know in advance. At the pre-trip meeting, your trip leader will ask if you’d like alcoholic beverages at camp in the evenings on the river trip, and what your preference may be (beer, wine, etc). They will arrange the purchase and storage of the drinks and you can reimburse them accordingly. Livingstone has a limited selection of liquors, so you may also wish to purchase your favorite liquor via duty-free before arriving in Livingstone.

Alcoholic drinks will also be available for purchase at the hotel/lodge bar during your stay in Livingstone and on the safari. There may also be the occasional complimentary alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) ‘sundowner’ during a late afternoon game drive or river cruise.


Bathing is not allowed in the river. The guides will set up a portable shower near camp. If you plan to bring soap, we recommend using a liquid biodegradable soap like Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s, which can be purchased in most stores that have a camping section, or another eco-friendly soap option. Bathing wipes (pre-moistened cleansing towels, preferably biodegradable) are also convenient.


While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant because of modesty or uncertainty. To minimize our impacts, we carry out all solid human waste and use a portable toilet system that is set up each day at camp in a secluded location, a discrete distance from tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing and is available from the time you pull into camp each afternoon until you leave camp the next day.

We also carry a small container called the “day tripper” that can be easily accessed during the day should the need arise. It is a personal disposable toilet, which includes an odor-proof transport bag, chemical solidifier and odor eliminator, toilet paper, and an oversized hand wipe.

On popular stretches of wilderness rivers, the common refrain is “dilution is the solution to pollution.” We practice this approach by urinating in the river.


Electric voltage in Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa is 220-240 volts. Electric devices designed for 110 volts will need the use of a power converter. These days, most electronics have an auto-volt (110v-240v) transformer built in that will adapt.

British three-prong plug outlets are commonly found, with two parallel flat pins and a ground pin above (type G). However, there is a wide range of plug outlets in use, so you’ll be best served by having a multi-plug adapter that can accommodate all types (such as types C, D, G, M, and N). Learn more and review the outlet types by country.


We provide a hard case on each boat to hold your camera and other items you might want during the day. It is secured in a readily accessible spot on the raft. While the cases are waterproof, you may wish to further protect your camera by placing it in a zip-lock plastic bag or a special waterproof camera case. Sand can be a problem—plan to clean your camera with tissue, a brush, and lens paper. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries, and any other extras you will need.

Electronics & Technology

The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you please be mindful of the impacts on others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music on the trip and leave your drone at home.

Many of our guests travel with their smartphones even though there is no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof case just for your phone.

Power Sources

While on the river, we are not able to provide a power source for recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel. Power is available at the lodges.


Once you are on the river, there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Our guides carry satellite phones which are strictly used to call out in case of an emergency situation on the river. They can call out, but we cannot call them. If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home, you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.

Internet is available at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge. Internet at Elephant Valley Lodge is intermittent and in the communal areas only.


We recommend checking for an up-to-date weather forecast for Livingstone one week before your trip. Being properly prepared for weather variations is an important factor in fully enjoying your trip.

The Zambezi River is at its best between August and November when water levels are dropping. To complement this, these months also represent the best weather for your trip. Expect it to be hot during the day. Down in the Batoka Gorge, it often ranges from 95-105°F but can get hotter. The water temperature is a comfortable 75°F and provides welcome relief from the heat. It does cool down a little in the evenings but nothing worth worrying about. Generally, it’s quite comfortable just sleeping under the stars.

Average air Temperatures & Rainfall

 Air (High) °FAir (Low) °FRainfall

Packing for Your Trip

We want you to be prepared and comfortable for your trip. Below you’ll find some general tips for how to dress and what to pack and a comprehensive packing checklist. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.

Clothing for physical activity should be quick-drying and made of synthetics or merino wool. Warmth and comfort are the main objectives of this outline. Weather conditions can vary considerably. It’s important to dress in layers so that you can maintain a comfortable body temperature no matter what Mother Nature may have in store. The inner base layer should move perspiration outside, where it can evaporate. The intermediate layer should insulate while the outside layer should act as a barrier to wind and rain.

For more helpful information about what to wear and how to pack for a river expedition or to view our packing video, please visit our packing essentials page.


During the day—It’s going to be HOT during the day! Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and a lightweight shirt as a base layer. Additional layers can be added and subtracted depending on the weather, temperature, and how wet you’re getting in the rapids. Make sure you cover up for protection against the sun in the daytime. On or off the river, a long-sleeved, quick-dry shirt is great protection from the sun, along with sunscreen.

In camp—When the weather is warm, lightweight cotton pants/skirts or shorts and shirts make great camp wear. Evenings may be cool, so long pants and long-sleeved tops are a good option, as well as a lightweight fleece or jacket.


During the day—The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes, and won’t come off in swirling currents. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option, especially on rivers with sandy beaches. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.

In camp—We recommend wearing shoes in camp due to the risk of kicking a rock buried in the sand or stepping on a sharp stick. The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. It’s nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only.

If you buy new shoes or sandals for the trip, make sure you break them in first!


Wide-brimmed hats are a good choice for sun protection. Ball caps are also useful since they fit under helmets, which are required attire when paddling our whitewater rivers.

Hot weather Trips

A good way to keep cool is with long-sleeved cotton shirts. They can be soaked in the water and worn in the raft or carried on a hike for later use. This method of evaporative cooling is very effective. Bandanas are another useful item that can be used in this manner. Protection from the sun and heat will be critical to your enjoyment and health while on the river and during side hikes. To protect yourself from the sun’s rays, consider bringing long-sleeved shirts and pants. Lightweight, nylon ‘safari’ shirts are readily available and often come with a UPF rating for reflecting harmful ultraviolet rays. These pack small, light, are quick-drying and often offer ventilation to help keep cool.

Camp wear should be made of cotton and be loose-fitting. A combination of shorts/skirt and a lightweight top is ideal for staying cool on hot afternoons.

To Avoid Being Cold

Synthetic or Merino wool long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet (which can happen easily), dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your small waterproof bag or daypack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.

Rain Gear

Rain gear protects you from rain, wind, and the splash of the rapids. It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have no matter what time of year they are traveling. Look for a jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists, and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho as it cannot be worn under your PFD.

Sun Protection

Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously! In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Lightweight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are also a must. 

Bugs & Mosquitoes

Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long-sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times. Scorpions are present on some beaches along the river, so your attention to where you step, sit, and set up a tent is necessary.


Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich-size Ziploc™ bags. These bags can store products during the day while you are on the river. Used pads or tampons can be disposed of in the trash at lunch or at camp. We provide some menstrual products on most trips for emergencies.

Packing List

Equipment and Personal Items

☐ Two 1-liter water bottles: durable and reusable (Nalgene® bottles work well)
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Polarized sunglasses with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel
☐ Toiletries, including biodegradable soap (such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into the raft)
☐ Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Any medication you may be taking and your antimalarial tablets
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities


☐ Amphibious river shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®). “Aqua socks” strongly discouraged.
☐ Athletic shoes or light hikers (for in camp and on safari)
☐ Flip-flops
☐ Socks


☐ Long pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Swimwear: tankinis and board shorts are a great option
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap–flexible enough to fit under your helmet
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant). A hooded jacket is recommended.
☐ Underwear
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 2-4
☐ Long underwear, top & bottom: 1 set–light to mid-weight
☐ Warm top & bottom, such as fleece as it can be cool in the morning and evenings
☐ Camp clothes: comfortable and appropriate for the season. Cotton is recommended for hot weather trips

Optional Items

☐ Camera and accessories (including dry bag or container)
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc.
☐ Small bags: stuff sacks, zip locks, or similar for organizing items in your dry bag and travel bag
☐ Day pack/hydration pack
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Binoculars
☐ Earplugs
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Bandana
Stand-up urination device

Packing Your Gear

In order to make your travels and connecting flights easier, we suggest you consider bringing only one duffle bag and one carry-on daypack. We recommend traveling as lightly as possible without compromising your preparation. Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to support personnel. On the international flight you are normally allowed two pieces of luggage, but please check your specific airline for current weight limitations, as it changes from carrier to carrier.

Each season about 5% of travelers arrive in Africa without their belongings. By the time the baggage is located and returned by the airlines, the trip is nearly over. We suggest you consider packing necessary river gear—river shoes and one full set of clothes—into a carry-on bag. If you become separated from your checked luggage, you will have some essential items for your river trip.

At the pre-trip meeting, each person will be given one large waterproof bag which will be for your clothing and personal items. A second large bag will come already packed with your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet, and pillow). These two bags will essentially be your “checked luggage” and will only be accessible in camp. Tents are stowed separately.

Extra Luggage

We recommend you take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary. Keeping gear to a minimum ensures it will fit into the waterproof bags we supply and reduces unnecessary packing and unpacking in camp. You may leave your extra luggage at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge while you’re on the river, then it will be transported and waiting for you at the Elephant Valley Lodge. All valuables and passports will be locked in a safe while you are on the river.


Zambia has been relatively safe for traveling, but still, there is no point in carrying lots of valuables when traveling. Regrettably, tourists are among the most easily targeted, so please exercise caution. We recommend you check your personal insurance policy before your trip to ensure that you are covered for theft and loss while traveling. As a safety precaution, do not travel with excessive amounts of cash or jewelry if it is not necessary. We recommend that you leave your valuables at home.

  • Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
  • Shop for the latest in top-quality clothing, footwear & outdoor gear at REI.



Tipping is optional but appreciated by our staff.  If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip.  In general, we suggest a gratuity based on approximately 10-15% of the trip price.  It is customary for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader, who will then distribute appropriately among all the guides and support staff.  Note that gratuities for incidental services are included in your trip price (for bell-boys, drivers, food servers, etc.)

During your trip you will have a lead guide, two or three additional river guides and one or two safari guides. If you intend to tip,  plan ahead and have either U.S. dollars, Kwacha or Pula on hand. You will be accompanied by your lead guide on river and safari, so you can provide a gratuity upon return to Livingstone the last day.  There are also gratuity boxes at the front desk of the lodges if you would like to leave a additional thank you for the staff.


In reviewing your statement, you’ll notice a $1 per person per day donation to International Rivers, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting rivers and defending the rights of the surrounding communities. Their work helps stop destructive dams and promotes water and energy solutions for a just and sustainable world. One hundred percent of these funds go directly to protecting rivers, and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.

Terms & Conditions

Reservations and Deposits

An $800/person non-refundable deposit is required at the time of reservation. Deposits may be made by check, money order, or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.

Canceling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception.

Cancellations and Refunds

Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more before the final payment due date.

If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

90 or more days before your tripDeposit of $800/person
89 to 0 days before your trip100% of the trip price/person

Requests to transfer a date will be treated as a cancellation, per the terms above.

Canceled Trips

OARS International and the outfitter Water By Nature reserve the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.


Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS International trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.

Travel Protection

Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. Learn more about the plan we recommend.

Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.

In order to take part in this trip, each participant must have a minimum of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage in place for the dates of the trip. This can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0 when getting a quote.

Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.

Liability Release / Assumption of Risk

Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release/assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS International’s cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.

Responsibility – An Important Notice

O.A.R.S. International, Inc., Water by Nature, and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss, or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, pandemics, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings, (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories, and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced in accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.

OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.

Water by Nature

Water by Nature, a travel partner of OARS. International, is the operator of this trip. Upon arrival, Water by Nature staff will meet you and escort you throughout the program. These international staff members are the very best and will strive to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Compare Adventures

Select up to 3 trips to compare