African River Cruises


African River Cruises are offered mainly on the Nile and Chobe Rivers, even though there are many other rivers in Africa. Most major river cruise lines feature itineraries on one or both of these rivers.

African travel is definitely a specialized area of travel, and there are many less well-known companies that offer cruises on some of the rivers in Africa as part of a larger travel package that also includes land travel. You'll also find day cruise options, such as safari cruises in Chobe National Park.

Chobe River in Botswana

Chobe River in Botswana

By Jorge Láscar from Australia (Elephant swimming  Uploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Nile River Cruises

When African River cruises are mentioned, the river that most people probably think of first is the Nile. It is the most common itinerary for suppliers who offer river cruises in Africa.

The Nile River is the longest river in the world; however, a cruise on the river usually only last 3-4 nights. The rest of the trip is spent on land touring in Egypt. 


Nile River in Cairo Egypt

Nile River in Cairo, Egypt

[Courtesy of Creative Commons, Wikimedia]

Chobe River Cruises

Another river is becoming increasingly popular for African River cruises. It is the Chobe River in South Africa. A cruise along the Chobe will probably be in Botswana where the river borders the northern part of Chobe National Park.

Similar to a Nile River cruise, your trip will combine a land trip with a river cruise. Your itinerary will have you sailing on the Chobe for about 4 nights. The rest of your trip will be spent touring destinations, such as: Kenya; South Africa, Tanzania & Zimbabwe.

A Few Travel Suppliers for Chobe River Cruises

Audley Travel, AMA Waterways, Wild Horizons, Zambezi Queen

Chobe River in Botswana Africa

Chobe River in Botswana

Zambezi River Cruises

Flowing from Central Africa to the Indian Ocean, the Zambezi River is another destination for African river cruises. Victoria Falls is its most well-known feature and is considered to be the boundary between the upper and middle Zambezi. 

We’ll look at suppliers in more depth on the web page for Zambezi River cruises. The river is not featured in itineraries for the major river cruises lines but is offered by some travel suppliers, especially those that specialize in African travel.


Victoria Falls in Zambia Africa

Victoria Falls in Zambia, Africa

By DoctorJoeE (Vacation photo Previously published: NA) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Senegal River Cruises

The Senegal River is located on Africa’s west coast. It rises in the Fouta Djallon highlands in Guinea and flows between Senegal and Mauritania before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Some river boats for Senegal River cruises do not have cabins or sleeping accommodations. If you choose this type of package, you’ll cruise the river during the day and sleep overnight in a hotel or cabin. 

Cruises along the Senegal are offered by African travel companies and other travel suppliers that feature some itineraries in Africa rather than by major river cruise lines.


Niger River Cruises

The Niger river is the 3rd longest river in Africa flowing for 2,600 miles through West Africa before spilling into the Atlantic Ocean. 

River cruises on the Niger usually take place in Mali between Timbuktu and Mopti – some also include Gao, which provides a truly breathtaking view.

Cruising the Niger River is definitely an adventure travel trip. If you travel on the river overnight, chances are you’ll have to sleep on a mattress in a tent rather than on the ship. It won’t be on a campground, and you won’t have access to a toilet or running water.

On the web page for Niger River Cruises, we’ll look at suppliers that offer cruises on this river. Major river cruise lines don’t include the Niger River in their African itineraries.


Congo River in Africa

Congo River in Africa

[By User:Vberger (Personal picture) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

Congo River Cruises

There are a few travel companies that offer cruises on the Congo River. It’s a fairly volatile area in Africa in terms of political stability and violence – part of the river borders Rwanda.

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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