The Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls is widely considered to be the very best White Water Rafting River in the world. … This enables you to marvel at the magnificent beauty of the Batoka Gorge between some of the most exciting and challenging rapids rafted anywhere on the planet. The one-day low water trip is considered to be the best one-day white water experience available in the world.
Commercial rafting commenced in 1981 on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls. By 1996, approximately 50 000 people did white water rafting at the Falls – this increases steadily every year.
The basalt gorge below the Falls has been cut over the last 300 million years. The gorge is approximately 120m (400ft) on entry. On the one day trip, the take out point is approximately 230m (750ft) deep, with a gradient of 1 in 2 – it takes approximately 20 minutes to walk out if you’re reasonably fit. The river drops by about 120m (400ft) in the first 24km (15 miles). The river is up to 60m (200ft) deep. The rapids are between 100m (330ft) and 2km (1,2 miles) apart.
The Zambezi is classified as a high volume, pool Drop River. The river floods between mid-February and the end of June. Huge volumes, in excess of four times that of the Colorado River flood over the Falls at peak. Nearly half of the rapids are classified as Grade 5 – Grade 6 is “unburnable”. White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls has been classified by the British Canoe Union as Grade 5 – “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas”. This is a high volume, pool-drop river – little exposed rock either in the rapids or in the pools below the rapids.
The “low water” run occurs when the Zambezi River is at its low level generally between July and mid-February. This is the most exciting time to do rafting. Day trips are conducted between rapids 1 and 18. The “high water” run follows after fresh inflow from the catchment areas in Angola and Zambia. The water rises and flows more rapidly and the day trips move downstream from rapids 11 to 23. We’re in high water from about February to July with a short “closed” season around April/May depending on the season’s rains.
The steep walls of the gorge are not suited for game. Birdlife is usually very good. There are small crocodiles in the river – they are not a serious threat. Bilharzia is not a risk.
One and half day rafting trips
ONE DAY AND OVERNIGHT
TWO AND A HALF DAYS
A ONE DAY ACCOUNT OF THE ZAMBEZI RAPIDS