Rafting the Zambezi

Livingstone Travel Blog

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Scotty's rafting team
Woke up 7:15am. At 8am Tammy, Karl, Dad and I had to meet for breakfast with the rest of the rafting crew. I had to hurriedly say goodbye to some people who were leaving, and it was so quick I didn't have time to get sad. Tammy and I both felt quite sick this morning so at breakfast we just shared a slice of bread - enough to have our doxycycline tablet with - and had a glass of cordial each. Even still Tammy had to vomit before the safety talk and again on the minivan on the way to the gorge - the road was really bumpy. The ultra-tight lifejacket also made it very hard to breathe, compounding the situation. When we arrived at where the minivan dropped us we had to walk for about 45min down into the gorge along a really steep and slippery dry river bed.
My knees and hips were feeling really sore and weak so I found it quite hard, even though I used my paddle as a prop. We were on Scotty's raft (a Welshman) with a Belgian couple Koen and Gloria who were very friendly. The rafting was really fun, although the paddling left me feeling even more exhausted (I'd had about 3hrs sleep over the past two nights) and with a very very sore back. The rapids were huge and really fun to go through. A lot of them had hilarious names like The Terminator, The Ugly Sisters, Oblivion, The Washing Machine, The Gnashing Jaws of Death etc. As the water level was high we did rapids 6 or 7 to 25. Ours was the only raft not to flip over, which was actually a bit disappointing. We were allowed to spend a fair bit of time in the water though, just floating along.
You felt like Superman when on your tummy as the water was just so so strong! It was alternatively burning hot (in the sun) or freezing cold (when it rained for ages) in the raft, although the water was always delightfully bath-like. The only rapid we couldn't go through was number 9 which we had to walk around as I think it was class VI. It was a crazy frothing bubbling monster that looked like you could never go through it and come out alive. Nonetheless, one of the kayaking support people went through - it looked psycho! The total distance we covered was apparently 25km. We got to the end about 2pm or just after then caught a cable car up to the top of the gorge, before having a nice cold Coke and then jumping on an open-sided truck to return back to the Waterfront.
Tammy and I were absolutely freezing, and to top it off I kept getting whipped in the neck and shoulder by the trees that were rushing past. It was nice to see the kids getting so excited and waving and shouting at us in the villages as we went past. Back at the Waterfront we had yummy fried chicken and gross rice with sauce. We watched our rafting DVD which was pretty hilarious, and then saw all our photos which included one of me just beginning to topple over the edge of the raft. Dad decided to buy them for US$40 which was cool. After that we had a much needed shower and the fact that half our group had gone began to sink in. I felt very deflated and for the rest of the afternoon I just wanted to sit in solitude and reflect. I just did a bit of washing and then sat on a comfy lounge chair by the bar pool and caught up on my journal. For tea (K60,000) it was a buffet which was just alright. After tea 8:30pm I went straight to bed as I was totally buggered - fell asleep immediately.
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Scottys rafting team
Scotty's rafting team
Beautiful sunset over the Zambezi
Beautiful sunset over the Zambezi
photo by: sarahsan