White Water Rafting the Zambezi River

Trek Essentials

Where: Border of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, south-east Africa
Top Sights:
 Stunning views of the Victoria Falls and the thrill of rafting some of the most dangerous rapids in the world
Remember to bring: Top level rafting kit and a very experienced guide
Watch out for: No. 18 – could be a terminator

In the heart of southern Africa, the Zambezi river forms the border between Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. The rapids are rated at number five grade for difficulty – given that grade of six is considered unnavigable, rafting the Zambesi is no mean feat.

The rapids have been given names which reflect their awesome potenial to soak a crew and even overturn any raft that dares mess with them: ‘Stairway to Heaven (or Stairway to Hell)’; ‘The Terminator’; ‘Devils Toilet Bowl’ and the last rapid, the big daddy of them all, ominously known as ‘Number 18’.

The spectacular Victoria Falls are the highlight of most travellers’ trips to Zimbabwe or Zambia. An average of 150,000 cubic ft of water goes coursing over the edge and into the Zambezi Gorge about 300ft below every single minute. It’s an incredible sight, and noisy too – little wonder the locals dub the place “The Smoke that Thunders’.

Trekker’s Tips

– Exhilerating though white-water rafting can be, it can also be extremely dangerous. Always go with a reputable outfitter, and pay heed to the instructions they give you in case the raft capsises.

– Rivers take no prisoners – wear a life jacket at all times even if you’re a strong swimmer. And be sure to wear clothes which you don’t mind getting wet.

– If you’re visiting Victoria Falls, be aware that the spray generated by the river can give you a good soaking. Wear a waterproof jacket and be sure to keep expensive camera equipment covered in polythene.

By Jess Halliday