Water sports in Zambia includes the internationally famous white water rafting experiences in the Kafue Gorge at the bottom of the Victoria Falls. There are also many Victoria Falls related water sports in Livingstone that include, kayaking, surfing and jet boats.
White water rafting in Zambia
White water rafting on the Zambezi River using an inflatable raft to navigate a river gives you some of the most wonderful adventure activities and sights on offer in Livingstone, Zambia. Experienced and professional guides take you safely down the river, to make sure your adventure is safe, whether it be a Zambezi River rafting trip, or a corporate team building experience, they will put the perfect trip together. There are many companies in Livingstone that have been rafting the mighty Zambezi River for years with the passion, experience and culture of rafting. All guides are fully trained professionals and hold valid advanced first aid certificates.
A typical rafting trip in Zambia starts with a brief information session on safety and health issues, discussing the plan for the day and answering any questions you may have. Once you reach the 'put-in' at the river, you will be given a short safety practice session to understand the raft and techniques that will be used to run the rapids.
When you decide to go white water rafting in Zambia, it's important to think about what level of excitement your looking for. This will determine which white water rafting season you should choose to get exactly what you expect from the experience. White water rafting in Zambia allows you to choose either a full day or half-day rafting experience.
- Low water season - during this season, runs takes place between July and mid-February.
- High water season - during this season, runs follow after fresh inflow from the catchment areas in Angola and Zambia. The water rises and flows much more rapidly. This season is usually between February to July with a short "closed" season around April/May depending on the seasons rains.
White water rafting rapids in Zambia
The rapids that range along the Zambezi River are powered by white water and a greatly passionate Mother Nature, this extreme adrenaline adventure will leave your heart beating faster. Below describes the white water rapids in Zambia:
- Rapid 1: A big wave-train running into a wall, this is the start of the intimidation for first-timers in the gorge.
- Rapid 2: This is an easy rapid to run, with a mixed wave.
- Rapid 3: This is also an easy rapid to run, great fast wave to surf.
- Rapid 3.5: Has a small retentive hole on the left for surfing, there's nothing to worry about when running this rapid.
- Rapid 4 (Morning Glory): This rapid is more involving and enjoyable to run, resulting in lots of swims.
- Rapid 5 (Stairway to Heaven): There is an impressively big wave at the bottom, causing major action when rafts hit it. On the right is a pour-over for those who want to do a more unique run, with a nice hole to surf just above it.
- Rapid 5.5: Has nice waves to surf, cruising down is smooth with nothing to worry about.
- Rapid 6 (Devil’s Toilet Bowl): A deep washing machine hole for the brave hearted only, and is easily avoidable by everyone else.
- Rapid 7 (Gulliver’s Travels): This rapid is the longest and most technical rapid of the stretch. At low to medium level, avoid the “Gap”, and the “Temple of Doom”, these are two unpleasant spots in the rapid.
- Rapid 8 (Star Trek): A really massive hole with a great surfing wave on its left.
- Rapid 9 (Commercial Suicide): The rafts portage it, it has a big pour-over and hole, not avoidable, though skillful paddlers can run it.
- Rapid 10 (Gnashing Jaws of Death): This rapid is simply considered easy.
- Rapid 11(Overland Truck Eater): It is run on the left to avoid a unpleasant hole, but be careful not to go into the boils next to the left bank. At high levels the rapid is open from left to right.
- Rapids 12A, 12B and 12C (Three Ugly Sisters): 12A is easy, 12B is the famous surfing wave and 12C is not a special rapid.
- Rapid 13 (The Mother): This is a huge wave train, with some nice waves to surf.
- Rapid 14 (Surprise Surprise): This rapid is little, but the bony centre should be avoided at low levels, at medium level, a good playhole forms in the middle.
- Rapid 15 (Washing Machine): A wave train with a big hole at the bottom centre that must be avoided, at high water the hole disappears.
- Rapid 16 (The Terminator): It is small at low water but becomes a very long and big wave train at high water.
- Rapid 17 (Double Trouble): It has two holes close to each other, at low levels they should be avoided.
- Rapid 18: (Oblivion): It is a huge, fierce hole where rafts do all the freestyle moves with paddlers going everywhere. The hole is actually not dangerous, and it is great fun.
Kayaking in Zambia
Kayaking in Zambia offers a different way to encounter the incredible power of the Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls where you row through the rapids. With your kayak, paddle, life jacket as well as helmet at the top of the gorge, you'll walk all the way down to the boiling pot with the help of porters. Kayaking the Victoria Falls is enjoyed by experienced kayakers but tandem kayaking trips are also available. An experienced white water kayaker will help direct the boat in the rapids.
As the river drops 100 meters over the falls, it enters the Batoka Gorge, and the beginning of the kayaking section. The gorge itself varies from 140 metres to 250 metres deep, making for striking views to compliment the high level of raw excitement. Here, you will enjoy tandem kayaking in the gorge using Topolino Duo Kayaks. A qualified kayaker-guide sits in the back, piloting and manoeuvring the kayak through rapids, while you sit in front and assist with paddle power. Kayaking requires you to be a confident swimmer, ready to experience different levels of rapids.
Experienced guides carry all the necessary group safety and equipment so you can just relax and have fun. Before getting on the water, you will receive full safety and paddling technique instructions. Operators always lead the way with a strong commitment to high safety standards and guides with incredible passion and extensive local knowledge of the area.