Rafting on Zambezi River, Zambia-Zimbabwe
The Zambezi is famous not only for the Victoria Falls, but also for its rapids: rafting and kayak amateurs from all over the world come here. We decided to look at the rapids and for that matter we needed a raft. To be honest, I thought that it would be an easy trip, but it turned out to be much more serious.
Having received our life vests, helmets and paddles, we headed down towards the river where we found some more adventure loving folk. We boarded a yellow raft and set out sailing. Our captain immediately warned me that I should not even attempt to use my camera until we reach the seventh rapid because all the members of the team should be paddling. Thus I realised that my hope for an easy trip had disappeared.
Photo by Adventure Zone
There were 19 rapids and more than 30 kilometres of white water waiting for us. Our co-sailors were Peter and Rita — an elderly couple full of adventure spirit. As it later turned out, they had set out for a five-day trip down the river and were in a very assertive mood.
We took the paddles and set sailing. Here was the first rapid! Splashes, a quick fall of the raft somewhere downwards, sweeps of paddles — and here we were, passed the first riffle! Well, quite funny, but wet.
I will not weary you with the descriptions of all the rapids, I will just tell the names of some of them: The Boiling Pot, Stairway to Heaven (the 5-grade rapid, the highest class permitted for commercial rafting), The Devil's Toilet Bowl, Commercial Suicide (the rapid grading 6 — the highest class in rafting; we had to pass it by land), The Gnashing Jaws Of Death, The Washing Machine, Double Trouble and Oblivion (one of the hardest in the river). Actually, a harsh name was not always an indicator of difficulty of the rapid: in the middle of our adventure I even managed to take out my camera and take some pictures.
Meanwhile we were getting closer to Oblivion. Our captain tied all our belongings to the boat with two ropes, and our voyage seemed to be getting serious. The turnover probability in this rapid was 60%. But there's no turning back!
Photo by Adventure Zone
Oblivion was not that big, but looked very impressive. We were intensively working the paddles, the raft whirled in the stream, huge splashes of water everywhere. And then suddenly I found myself flying over the raft, then under it. "Well, now I am overboard". Somewhere near Rita was swimming as well. Having noticed that somehow my oar paddle was not lost, I threw it back into the boat.
Actually, we've managed not that bad, despite the fact that all the left side of the raft was swept away. Nevertheless, all the equipment was safe, and we managed to take some good photos as well.
Earlier we have already published photo panoramas and 360° video of the waterfall. The full story of the shooting is available here.
Text and photos by Sergey Shandin, Stas Sedov and Nickolay Denisov
7 September 2016
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