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Paddling the Zambezi

Listed under Rafting in Zambia.

  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
  • Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
Photo of Paddling the Zambezi
Photo by flickr user Zest-pk
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The Zambezi is the Everest of rivers, but it’s an Everest even first time paddlers can have a bash at (under good supervision.). It’s a big volume, big white water river trip with waves up to 24ft (which you’re tackling in a 16ft raft.) and the added bonus being surrounded by astounding African scenery, meeting some of the more exotic locals and the comfort of sunshine and warm water (around 24 degrees.).

This is a proper adventure: from dropping in under the gaspingly thunderous Victoria Falls, riding rapids with names like ‘Oblivion’, ’Devils Toilet Bowl, ’Creamy White Buttocks’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’, camping in comfort on pristine sandy beaches and being flown out by helicopter at the end of your escapade for an aerial appraisal of your achievement.

A one day trip is like paddlers Disneyland and a four to seven day journey (with a few portages) just keeps getting better. After the initial excitement and scenery of the falls, the rapids are mostly class three and four and well spaced to keep you interested and you’ll rest your paddles overnight on white sandy beaches which look like they‘ve never been dented by footprints. Apart from the falls one of the scenic highlights is 750ft deep gorge of towering black basalt and bush, but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled along the whole trip for you chance to see hippos, baboons, crocodiles and other wildlife.

Beginners to intermediates can attempt this trip as long as you’re going with a guide. The best time of year for a Zambezi trip is in the low water season between August and October.

Water By Nature Information on The Zambezi.

Written by  Hamish McMaster.

Other expert and press reviews

“The Zambezi”

In 1855 Dr. David Livingstone hired natives to paddle his canoe to the brink of mile-wide, 364-foot-high Victoria Falls, billed as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. Modern-day river runners can do the same both above and below the fall… Read more...

Written by  Eugene Buchanan.

“Difficult and Beautiful”

I've never done this one, but it is known as a very difficult and beautiful river. It begins below the famous Victoria Falls in Africa and is full of big Class IV and V rapids. Read more...

Written by  Zach Collier.

“Navigate the Zambezi”

In 1855 the famous missionary, David Livingstone came upon Mosi-oa-Tunya or “the smoke that thunders” and promptly named them Victoria Falls. These falls are 1.5 km wide and the Zambezi River drops 100m into the gorge below. It is considered one of the … Read more...

Written by  Ben Mason.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Jennifer, Let me check my journal and get back with you.

The photgraphs are just amazing and I am sure rafting here would be really fun and exciting. The other day, I cam across another amazing looking waterfall of Argentina, Iguazu Falls. Even that waterfall looked so awesome.

My expereince in the Zambezi .

Hola from Chile

With another friend from Chile we run the Zambezi in 1994, but we trained hard for it , first running rivers in Chile , like the famous BioBio between others. Once we arrive there, from South africa , by a wonderful trip by train crossing to Zimbawe , it was an unforgetable memory . The town of Victoria Falls , from where the ww trip starts , is in the middle of a National Park, that means , you walk 2 squares , and you can find easily elephants, buffalos, etc.. The river is gigantic , but the good things is that the lines are very wide , although the waves are huge.In Batoka Gorge, the rapis are also long , but in between them, there are log sections of flat water. Just be very careful with the water if you have to swim as it is very contaminated. The water temperature also is very warm . Drink alot of water as the weather conditions are very hot. Another thing I will never forget , the wooden handcraft...spectacular.

Nos vemos en el agua

Juan Zuazo

Trip Leader


Chile - Patagonia

Adventure and then some

The rafting company we went with was very helpful and fun. The experience was amazing. We went during the low flow, big rapid season. I have rafted a number of times in the US, and you would never be allowed to run rapids of this class in the US as an amateur. I highly suggest paying the extra for the helicopter ride out of the gorge. After the shooting the rapids, you do not feel like climbing out of a 700ft gorge, believe me. My husband and I climbed out and it is the one thing I will never forget, absolutely grueling.

1 Reply

What rafting company did you use? Thinking of going but I do need a great guide, I'm not a great rafter.

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