Stairway to heaven, Devil’s toilet bowl, The Terminator, these are just a few of the names of the mighty rapids on the Zambezi. The journey down this river is not for the fainthearted but it is any adrenaline junkie’s dream.
White water rafting down the Zambezi River was top of the list when it came to scary, adrenaline pumping things I could think of to do. As I was on the river during high water season we were unable to start from rapid 1 (the boiling pot) as it is too dangerous with the amount of fast moving water being pushed through the gorge from the falls. Instead, our starting point was rapid 14, about 10 kms on from rapid 1.
After a thorough safety briefing and getting into our safety gear me and five others made our way down the gorge to the grade 5 rapids awaiting us below. All of us were first timers and unsure of what to expect.
Our raft was waiting for us by the time we arrived at the bottom, our main guide, Steve had two other men in canoes who would be watching out for us as we tackled the next 17 kms of river. We all got into the raft and practiced our paddling and holding on techniques. Once we had that covered we started and got through rapid 15 (the washing machine) without too much hassle, this, however, was short lived as we had a slight calm part right after the rapid and then came The Terminator 1 and 2, we flipped as we came into number 1 and thus went through number 2 in the water. We all got separated in the chaos of the waves and eventually the girls all found the boat and the boys were taken to the banks and got into the boat once we were in the calm space. Our hearts were racing and we were all talking about what just happened.
We saw one small croc have a suntan on the banks but were assured that they were not a problem in this part of the river. Needless to say,, we came close to toppling a few more times but managed to stay afloat except for me and one other girl who came off on rapid 24 whilst the rest hung on. When we got to the end there was a cable car ride to the top of the gorge and a huge lunch waiting for us on our return.
Later that day we decided to experience the softer side of the Zambezi and took a cruise on the upper side of the falls. We saw lots of crocs on the banks and hippos in the water. We had an early dinner and watched the sunset with our gin and tonics in hand.