Zambezi, Victoria Falls, 3.5-day rafting expedition-what you need to know.

By August 23, 2018Activities

It is absolutely awesome.

The multi-day trips win the un-discovered, off the beaten track, “bucket list” adventure trip title hands down.

We can’t talk highly enough about what you will experience during three and a half-days on the mighty Zambezi River. If you enjoy fun in the outdoors, un-explored, isolated areas and have a passion for adventure; these are the trips for you.

Victoria Falls, Livingstone Zambia, below the falls.

Below Victoria Falls, this is the location of the start of your epic trip.

Join like-minded people and make memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. These are the expedition style trips of the Zambezi. Every trip is unique and simply: incredible.

zambezi-river-rafting-special-8-night-ultimate-6

Our trips start below the magnificent Victoria Falls, where we have lunch.

The trips start directly below the Victoria Falls and end at “Kabompo falls”, the site of the proposed Batoka Hydro-electric Scheme (BHES).

Day 1:

We head up underneath the Victoria Falls, locally known as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (the smoke that thunders).

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Paddling up under the falls at the start of an incredible expedition.

We explore this pristine world heritage site and swim in the exquisite pools there. Guests look out for the rare, largely solitary, Cape Clawless Otter. We have lunch with an incredible view, in a location that is decidedly off-limits to those “not so adventurous”.

Victoria Falls, waterfall, at the foot of th falls.

Guests swim and explore the pools at the foot of Victoria Falls.

Swimming below Victoria Falls.

Swimming below the “Victoria Falls”. A phenomenal spot to cool off.

Below Victoria Falls

Not many people can claim this picture, at the base of the “Mosi-oa-Tunya” falls.

We then raft the quintessential Zambezi River run, the “Top section”, which is rapid # 1 to rapid # 10.

Rafting Rapid number seven on the Zambezi River Victoria Falls Africa.

Dropping into the “land of giants” at the bottom of Rapid # 7, “Nyami-nyami’s” playground.

Highlights on this day are the closely stacked class-V whitewater rapids that the Zambezi is renowned for. Infamous rapids such as “Stairway to Heaven”(Rapid#5) and “Nyami-nyami’s playground” (Rapid#7) await.

Highway to Heaven, crew successfully running Rapid #5

We then camp on a pristine beach area at the mouth of the “Songwe gorge”. We have a versatile and ingenious “glamping” set-up, complete with a private toilet.

The food we prepare is all sourced locally and we pride ourselves on our presentation and class of meal.

The beginnings of dinner, we take great pride in cooking outstanding, locally sourced meals that will have you coming back for seconds and thirds.

The gorge is extremely isolated, with a minuscule roving fishermen population. Subsequently, we have limited numbers of the bugs that consider us a meal, and we encourage our guests to sleep under the stars.

Stars, Batoka Gorge, Victoria Falls, Zambia, Zambezi.

With Zero light pollution, the stargazing from your sleeping bag is incredible.

We give the gorge ceiling and outside sleeping a “Thousand star” rating.

Batoka Gorge, stars, multi-day camping.

The Gorge is a fantastic place to fall asleep, we do have tents, but encourage guests to sleep outside under the natural ceiling.

Day 2:

Batoka Gorge, sunrise, below Victoria Falls, Whitewater rafting

Waking up in the Batoka Gorge is a pretty special feeling, no hotel room can compete with this.

We wake you up with a local, rare, medium roast “Kusama” coffee and a rusk in your sleeping bag. Then serve breakfast 45-60 minutes later after the caffeine kicks in. You can just about tear yourself out of your sleeping bag and away from the awesome bedside views.

We then start the day off with a swim as we load the rafts.

Raft, below Victoria Falls, Multi-day rafting.

Gear raft, packed and ready for the day.

All of our equipment is carried in and out with us, and we operate on a “leave no trace” basis.

On this day, we have an equipment raft (gear raft) which will carry all of your equipment. We provide dry bags and seldom have a “bag failure”, despite some interesting upside down action over the years.

Raft, Zambezi River, Zambia.

Our river manager Andrew “Sven” Bolton taking care of our equipment.

This day starts off with the infamous rapid # 11 “The overland truck eater”, other highlights of the day are “The three ugly sisters” and rapid # 13, “The mother”.

Raft, spray explosion, WWR, rafting Zambezi.

Dropping into the “Overland Truck Eater”, rapid # 11.

This day is characterized by swimming smaller rapids, gorgeous views, and long flat sections, as we exit the commercially rafted day section into areas unknown.

Rafts, Batoka Gorge, serenity, peace.

Taking it easy below Rapid # 13 on one of the smaller parts of our journey.

We usually camp at “Pirate Bay” a beach that is largely accessible only from the river. A way past the commercial section and characterized by a limestone waterfall. The source of this small river originates from the right of the “Songwe” gorge 13 kms away. “Songwe” gorge was the site of the previous day’s camp.

Raft, Batoka Gorge, livingstone Zambia, Victoria Falls. Zambia.

Soaking in the Serenity at Pirate Bay.

We have a night of “Rum and Coke” and of course the essential African sunset Gin and Tonics. We sit around our campfire of driftwood and have a “beer and medal time” session, recounting the events of the previous two days.

Stars Batoka Gorge.

Did we mention the stars?

Day 3:

After coffee and breakfast, we load the gear raft and head off downstream. Toward “Moemba Falls”, an iconic waterfall seen by very few, but those who do the multi-day trips.

Batoka Gorge, Zambezi River, Zambia.

“Lower Moemba” seen from above “Moemba” means Ground hornbill. Two schools of thought exist for the name. The First that the rapid resembles the Ground Hornbill from above. The second that there used to be a lot of the birds in this area.

This day is characterized by a strong expedition type feel. We stop and scout the first of the major rapids of the day “Open Season”.

Guide showing guest the line, Batoka Gorge, Open Season.

There is a strong expedition type feel to these trips and it is all about teamwork.

After this, we head into “The Narrows”. Three narrow channels of fast-moving water all class three and read and run. This is a fun section and the change in the width of the river here makes it extremely memorable.

We usually stop after this section on another shaded, white sandy beach for another superb lunch, before moving on toward “Chi-mamba” or “The Snake”.

Humble lunch, we will keep you well fed and can adapt to many dietary requirements. Please let us know well in advance.

Kayaker running Upper Moemba.

After Chimamba Rapid we come to what is a major highlight of the third day “Upper Moemba”. This awesome drop is incredible fun and is a great way to end the rafting section of our trip.

Middle Batoka Gorge, Zambezi River, Zambia

Moemba Falls.

We usually camp above “Lower Moemba” falls. This waterfall is an awesome spectacle, seen by very few.

Moemba Falls, Batoka gorge.

Moemba Falls seen from the “Top Ledge” at “Ledges Campsite”.

We may also choose to do our “portage” of this waterfall this day. Choosing to then camp opposite the waterfall at the “Three Ledges”.

Kayaker, Owen Glover, Zambezi River, Africa, Zambia, Livingstone.

Kayaker running “Lower Moemba”.

Both campsites are extraordinary and offer exceptional views of this waterfall.

Day 4:

Despite the sadness of leaving this incredible gorge, we have a mellow breakfast and a swim before moving on downstream to the “Dam site”.

These trips are life-changing, expect to make friends for life. Leaving this incredible gorge can get emotional.

Sadly this is the proposed location for the “Batoka Hydro-Electric Scheme” dam wall.

Batoka HES, dam site, Zambezi

This is the dam site, the top of the 3.5 day take out.

We hike out of this path to the trig point at the top of the gorge. This hike in itself is an adventure and a fitting way to end what has been an incredible trip.

Testimonial

Adelle Scott led a charity fundraising trip of “The Body Shop” employees and these are her words about the trip:

There is only one word I can truthfully give for the 3.5-day adventure; epic. If you really want to test yourself, see breathtaking nature at its very finest and most powerful and if the idea of adventure lights a fire inside of you, then this really is for you. The experienced, brilliant crew will guide you through an experience of a lifetime, taking you on a literal journey of Zambia at its most beautiful, breathtaking and exhilarating. In an incredibly short time, the modern world slips away, allowing you to reconnect authentically to staggering scenery, moments and teamwork with people who start as strangers but end like family. This experience won’t build character; it will reveal it. You’ll be surprised at yourself and how deep you dig into a side of yourself you didn’t know existed. Enjoy every moment of it! It’s one of the best things I’ve truly EVER done. 

Meet our team. 

References and acknowledgments:

Referral: Adelle Scott.

Pictures: Sean Edington, Davey O’hare, Vanessa Nielson, Marc Goddard, Alex Nicks.

Featured Paddlers: Katie Rocha, Owen Glover, Andrew Bolton, Sean Edington, Malvin Ndlewewa, Amioty Siliwa, Koryn Gould, Reuben Connolly.

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