White Water Rafting...Zambezi Style!

Livingstone Travel Blog

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I have to say that this was heaps of fun! I had never done it before (sad as WV is known for its white water rafting) and if you haven't either I totally recommend it. The Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa and there are several class 5 rapids (and one class 6, but we walk around it, illegally on the Zimbabwe side) that you get to go down. So I hope you can swim because I promise you, you will flip. lol. I did it with the company Safari Par Excellence, really well run, we had breakfast, lunch and dinner on the full day trip, all in all it cost about $135 US for the whole day, transportation and food. Well worth the money let me assure you. They also sell a dvd of your trip and photos. The dvd tells abit about the falls and the Zambezi river as well as showing everyone, not just your individual raft and all the class 5 rapids are filmed. Really awesome if you sit in the front (which I did) you get the best shots that way. Also worth the money, about $60 US for it all.

If you are going to raft the Zambezi do it during the dry season as you get to start right below the falls. The boiling pot is the where you start and it is located right in front of the Victoria Falls Bridge, you could see people bungee jump off as we piled into our boats. The first 10 rapids are included in the half day after which we stop for lunch. If you only do the half day you have to hike out of the canyon which is apparently a trek, but full day people take the cable car up at the end. The full day is tiring as the last 7 rapids (25 in all) are spaced out and you have to paddle alot, we also had a strong head wind which was killing us. Don't take anything with you that you can't live without cause it will fall out of your pocket, I brought sunscreen (much needed by the end of the day as the low angled sun is absolutly burning) and I managed to keep hold of it until rapid 12b. Rapid 12 is broken up into a,b,c cause it is long and huge, plus rapid 13 then follows shortly, so we hit rapid 12b and flip, I manage to make it back to the raft, but the guide has to flip it, as he does the raft sort of lands on my head and I instinctivly let go, big mistake, as the strong current just takes me, everyone is yelling at me to swim back, but its impossible, I turn around and see rapid 13 comming, I get pummled repeatedly by wave after wave, you pop up for a split second, but can never get enough oxygen, which is exhausting and a bit scary. I began thinking, well this is how my story ends, drowning in the Zambezi River, at least I went out doing something fun, but no, I make it through, but now I am heading for a jagged rock formation as the river sort of forks around it, I brace for impact (put feet in front like you are sitting in a reclining chair) and manage to snag a rock with my left hand, then I just have to wait for the safety kayaks to get me as the water rushes around. A women was being carried past me by the current and reached her arm out for help, but if I had tried to grab her, it would have pulled us both off so I just held on. Haha not the most gentlemanly thing, but looking out for number 1 right ;)

You finish around 6 or so, take the cable car up where refreashments are waiting. Then we have about a 45 min drive through a local village (our guide pointed out the hut where the local chief lives) back to the office where we eat and watch the video. After food and dvd purchases they drive you back to your hostel. I went with two guys from my hostel so we had a few beers as we licked our wounds before heading off early to bed.
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photo by: sarahsan