The surge in electric vehicles shows no signs of abating. Lodges across the country are dipping their toes into EV game-drive vehicles and now Green Safaris has gone a step further by launching an ‘electric dhow’.

A ‘silent safari’

The eDhow is based at Tongabezi Lodge upstream from the Victoria Falls and allows guests to cruise the Zambezi River without the loud and intrusive sound of an engine. In addition to cutting noise pollution that shatters the tranquillity, the eDhow reduces carbon emissions, important for sustainable tourism in an ecologically sensitive area.

How it works

The boat is powered by a 10Kw electric motor, which is recharged at the jetty off the national grid in Livingstone and electricity generated by the Batoka Hydroelectric Power Station near the Falls. Eventually the lodge will have sufficient solar power, cutting emissions even more.

The eDhow is very efficient and generally uses around 10% to 15% of its capacity during a three-hour cruise for six to eight passengers, meaning it could undertake six trips before needing recharging.

In addition to energy efficiency, the vessel is both safe and reliable, and needs much less maintenance than standard petrol engines. It has more than sufficient capacity to power its way out of strong currents if necessary.

How it was built

The eDhow is a joint concept between Dutch boat builder Koos van den Steuijt and the carpentry team at Tongabezi. The design was inspired by traditional dhows used in Malawi (sister lodge Kaya Mawa is based on Likoma Island on Lake Malawi) and is make from mukwa, a durable indigenous hardwood.

As more and more owners and operators move to greener technology, maybe we will see many more EV boats and dhows cruising the Zambezi. No doubt the hippos and crocs will appreciate the peace and quiet!