Wild wet raft ride down the Zambezi

Monday, July 13, 2009
Livingstone, Zambia
My Day ONE was Adventure Day.

It started with an 8 am breakfast briefing for a white water rafting trip.

JS, the river had been closed for 2 months due to the rainy season and had just reopened for a high water run meaning only rapids 10 - 25 were being rafted.

After a horrible slow descent 230 metres down rocks and using some wooden ladders made out of tree branches, the river valley floor was eventually reached. We were briefed as to the commands, strokes and holds that we were to use, a quick practice then off immediately into rapid 10.

I'm sitting at the front on the right hand side of the raft wearing my long sleeve red merino top.

Outcome of the trip: Over half of the 6 rafts (which had 6 people on board) tipped over, some rafts lost people overboard yet ours managed to survive but at one rapid it was at 90 degrees. I was lucky to be on the upper side and hung on for dear life throwing my weight so that it would not flip. All 3 who were on the lower side tipped out. The water was not cold anyway. Some had a vest on under their lie jacket. The video and photos that the company took of us make the journey look worst than what it really was. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip and got as wet as anything by sitting right up at the front hitting those pressure waves and standing waves full on. Most rapids were at grade 3 - 4.

I would love to come back in Oct / Nov when the river is at its low level run and all 25 rapids are rafted. I am told that this is the best time as it is more impressive and adventure fulfilling re rafting. But seeing pictures of the Falls in summer, I can see just a few places where the water flows over = you can not see the falls at its best and raft, so a compromise may be in order! Our trip was neat with simply the sheer volume of water we had to navigate. I felt safe during the 2 to 2 1/2 hour trip though I suspect by looking at the faces of some of the others they may not have!!!!

Then at 4 pm, some of the group boarded for a Sunset Dinner Booze Trip. Yes, it was 2 1/2 hour trip and the all inclusive fare meant that you can drink all you can. I am sure some of the other groups tried to drink the on-board bar dry.

The sunset was really orange turning to red and was made even better when another smaller boat sailed between us and the setting sun. I wait to see the images on a computer later. (The next day I saw the same sun set scene for free by sitting on the jetty.)
Other Entries