Row Zambezi Expedition — rowing a million meters of the Zambezi River in Zambia for a million litres

Sara Drawwater
21 March 2011
Row Zambezi is a group’s dream to change the fortunes of thousands of people in Zambia and to complete a world first rowing expedition. By the expedition departure, a year’s work will have gone into…

In August 2011 a team of men and women are going to row 1,000 kilometres along the upper Zambezi River in Zambia, from the border with Angola to Victoria Falls in three sculling boats. This has never been done before and is proud to be supporting this voyage which is raising money for Village Water. To begin with, here is some background to this amazing rowing expedition.

How did the Row Zambezi Expedition come to be?Row Zambezi is a group’s dream to change the fortunes of thousands of people in Zambia and to complete a world first rowing expedition. By the expedition departure, a year’s work will have gone into planning and fund raising for this exceptional charity expedition.

Where, when and how was the idea born?Tim Cook, the expedition leader, wanted to do an unusual rowing expedition. Originally planning to row the Atlantic, one of his sons suggested he do something more original — like row the Zambezi River in Zambia! With strong family ties in Zambia, (Tim’s wife was born in Chingola and he has family in Lusaka) this was a great opportunity for an expedition that would support important causes in Zambia. This has become a real family oriented project as the expedition includes a father and son team and a husband and wife team.

Who’s in the rowing team?A team of experienced men and women including current and former British rowers, and potential 2012 Zambian Olympian, Antonia Van Deventer, have come together to form the Row Zambezi rowing team. Most of the squad have not worked together before, so an important element is to build a sense of unity and teamwork before they arrive in Zambia. The team is also looking for another up and coming Zambian rower to join them.

What equipment will be used on the expedition?Our boats are being specially built by Rossiter Rowing Boats with Rushworth Racing. Using state-of-the art materials and building processes the boats will be as light as possible while being strong enough to withstand the challenges to be faced on the Zambezi River. The team are looking for sponsors of £20,000 (main sponsor), £7,000 (name a boat), £5,000 (livery) or any other amount possible.

Who will be supporting the rowers?An excellent support, admin and logistics team has been put together to help the expedition achieve its goals as safely as possible. These include Jana Myburgh and Francois Kruger, one of the few people to have canoed the whole length of the Zambezi.

What is the goal of the Row Zambezi Expedition?The expedition aims to begin in Chavuma, Northwest Zambia on the 29th July and reach Victoria Falls in South Zambia by the 14th August. This will include many different terrains such as open stretches of river and rapids, some only passable by carrying the boats through the surrounding bush. The team will also carry out supervised community projects en route and raise funds for the charity Village Water.

Why did you choose to support Village Water?As a rowing expedition it seemed best to support a charity which focuses on water. Village Water provides sustainable water wells, sanitation and hygiene education to rural villages in Zambia. Since 2007 they have helped over 65,000 people in over 240 villages. They decrease cases of certain diseases, train local people to maintain their wells and encourage crop cultivation.

How much money do you want to raise?We aim to raise £50,000 in aid of Village Water supporting the provision of clean water in this rural part of Zambia. We also need to raise £30,000 for expedition equipment through sponsors. On completion of the expedition the three racing boats, plus all the equipment, and a trailer, will be donated to create a new rowing facility on Lake Kariba which aims to encourage young Zambians to take up this sport.

What will Village Water use this money for?

  • £10 = hygiene education and clean water for one person
  • £40 = buy cement for a rehabilitated well
  • £100 = travel costs for working with one community
  • £150 = one week of pump maintenance training for two
  • £200 = buy enough cement for a new well
  • £300 = full programme of hygiene and sanitation training
  • £1,500 = full programme and refurbishing an old pump
  • £2,500 = pump install and programme for 250 people

Who are your sponsors so far?We are fortunate in the diversity of our sponsors. These include: Russell Reynolds Associates, Somersets Skincare, The Best of Zambia, Bluespan, Rossiter Boats, Clinova, Croker, De Graaff, Yellowbrick, Victorinox, Ormonde Jayne, Tilley, Cherry Active, Hennessy Hammock and Sioma Camp. If you want to join these generous sponsors and help support this expedition please contact the team on

Will you be filming the expedition?A documentary of the expedition in Zambia is likely and there is potential for this to be broadcast in the UK and Zambia. Currently, Your Frontier, a UK film and media production company is producing web videos of the team preparing, training, and fund raising.

Support the Row Zambezi Expedition!There are many ways to get involved!

  1. Sponsor the rowing equipment
  2. Pay for a logo on the boat or trailer
  3. Donate to Village Water through JustGiving
  4. Download their charity single ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ by Polaris Condition
  5. Follow and promote us on Facebook
  6. Sign up to Best of Zambia newsletters and spread the word as they share how the expedition develops

Contact the Row Zambezi team on if you have any other ideas on how you can support them.

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