Zambezi Rafting

Old Nov 28th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Zambezi Rafting

Will be at Vic Falls late december. Love to hear experiences regarding rafting the Zambezi. Is it safe? I saw a video called "Raft Slambezi" that is quite frightening. I have heard this the the holy grail of whitewater rafting.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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santharamhari
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drsavage,

Hello!!! I have done the white water rafting experience on the Zambia side....Fantastic!!! This was in 2005...during our stay at Songwe Village. The lodge booked us on the trip via "Bundu adventures". Our guide, was awesome....we didnt topple even once. This is the best rapids i have ever done.....i am no rafting expert, but, this is very very safe and lots of fun.......go for it!!!

There was maybe one rapid that is a very high grade, that they dont allow you to go through. They pull up on the side and you walk around that particular rapid on the banks....and then you continue on with the trip.

The walk down the gorge and your climb back up after completion of the trip, is an adventure in itself. have fun!!!

Hari
 
Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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I'm interested in this question too for late June/early July. First, is our 13 (almost 14)-year-old too young? She weighs about 105 and is a good swimmer, but I've seen conflicting info on whether she'd be allowed, and of course we wouldn't do anything that would seriously endanger her. Also, we're reasonably adventurous, but have only been white water rafting once and I think grade three was the worst we got. We're trying to figure out whether we'd love it or it would scare us silly. With five of us would we likely be the only ones in the raft (other than the guide)? Thanks.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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I have run the Zambezi five times, four of which have been in a shared inflatable the last, well pretty much out the boat and swam!!

That river is big, fast and it is dangerous. On my last trip we hit a wall, the boat flipped, I went down, but somehow held the grip rope with a baby finger, which was essentially stuck. The river sucked my legs below me, I felt my body going forward in the current, but my legs seemed to want to go down. I was seeing black spots in front of my eyes, potato my guide was what I saw next, he was holding my shoulder straps as he slung me over the gunwale.
That was sccary, very scary indeed.

It is however a thrilling river, beautiful and challenging. If I were there again I would run it again. If I could pick my crew I would, the more athletic the paddlers the better the chances of cruising tyhrough the rapids, big dead weight misplaced on the boat means you are going to swim.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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santharamhari
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Hi! My cousin who was about 14 at the time, did the trip. He was ok. About being only 5 on the raft....i cant remember. We may have been 7 on the raft, besides the guide. You do need a certain weight on the raft so that you dont topple.

They will give you all advice on if she will be permitted or not. I think it should be ok. She will be wearing a life-vest floating device, anyways. So no chance of drowning. The first lesson he gives you, is a jump into the water to make you feel comfortable and let you know that it is safe and ok to have a tumble......then comes a set of instructions and just paddle on.....

I say go for it.....
Hari
 
Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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I LOVED IT!
I am kind of skinny (125 pounds) and kept on getting bounced out of the raft.
But that was fun and i didn't experience any of the kind of danger mkhonzo is talking out.
It's really fun, especially working together as a team with the guides.
They made us sing songs as we paddled --unbeknownst to us, they were X-rated lyrics in Zambian languages!
I am planning to do the rapids at Bujugali Falls in Uganda on the Nile next week.
I can't wait to hit the water again.
PS--The Zambezi swing was cool too, especially the flying fox in which you zoom out over a 1000-meter deep gorge attached to a guy wire. .
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:47 PM
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My wife, children 16, 19, 22 and I went rafting in August and had a blast. We flipped once and as a parent it is more nerve wracking worrying about the kids than yourself. The company had a great system of kayakers the did each rapid first and then watched each group go over and were able to grab anybody who went too far downstream. The water is very deep which is a big advantage as you are less likely to hit submerged rocks unless you are very close to the walls. There is some risk involved but if you choose a reputable oufit the likelihood of a serious injury is pretty small.
Eric
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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You have a choice to make before you even get in the raft. To go with paddlers or to leave it to the guide to steer you thru and all you do is hang on and move in the raft as the guide tells you. The latter is probably the safest as leaving it to your fellow paddlers and yourself to do the right thing at the right time, in unison, well ... it just don't happen with a bunch of 1st timers.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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kareng: I have not done the Zambezi but I have taken a youth group rafting on some world class rivers in West Virginia with lots of class V and IV rapids. I had a couple of 13 to 15 year old girls in my raft and it was fine so I think you will be fine. Having a good guide to steer the boat is the key and I would recommend that you ensure you go with an outfitter using a rescue kayaker as mentioned above just for added safety.
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