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   Zambezi Rafting

The river rises in a black marshy dambo in dense undulating miombo woodland 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Mwinilunga and 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Ikelenge in the Ikelenge District of North-Western Province, Zambia at about 1,524 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level.

The area around the source is a national monument, forest reserve and Important Bird Area. Eastward of the source, the watershed between the Congo and Zambezi basins is a well-marked belt of high ground, running nearly east-west and falling abruptly to the north and south.

This distinctly cuts off the basin of the Lualaba (the main branch of the upper Congo) from that of the Zambezi. In the neighborhood of the source the watershed is not as clearly defined, but the two river systems do not connect. The region drained by the Zambezi is a vast broken-edged plateau 900–1200 m high, composed in the remote interior of metamorphic beds and fringed with the igneous rocks of the Victoria Falls. At Shupanga, on the lower Zambezi, thin strata of grey and yellow sandstones, with an occasional band of limestone, crop out on the bed of the river in the dry season, and these persist beyond Tete, where they are associated with extensive seams of coal. Coal is also found in the district just below Victoria Falls. Gold-bearing rocks occur in several places.


 Rapid NumberRapid NameGradeDescription
Day 11 4/5Near the base of the Falls, only approachable from Zambia
 2 3Directly below the bridge. Beware of bungi jumpers!
 3 4Easily avoidable hole
 4Morning Glory4/5First major rapid
 5Stairway to Heaven525 ft (8m) drop over 30 ft (10m)
 6Devil?s Toilet Bowl4Short rapid with large whirlpool
 7Gulliver?s Travels5Longest and most technical on Day 1
 8Midnight Diner3/52 runs available
 9Commercial Suicide6Portage
 10Gnashing Jaws of Death4Easy run before lunch
 11Overland truck eater5Don?t swim on a full stomach!
 12 A,B,C3 Little Pigs3/4Interesting run leading into 13
 13The Mother4/5At its best it?s a huge wave train
 14 3S bend in the river
 15Washing Machine5Unrunnable in the middle because of a large hole
 16 & 16.5Terminator4Very exciting at high water
 17The Bitch5Unrunnable because of 2 large holes
 18Oblivion5The rapid on the Zambezi. More flips than any other rapid in the world
 19 2/3 
 20 2/3 
 21 2/3 
 22 2/3Easy runs at the end of the day
 23 2/3 
 24 2/3 
 25 2/3 
Day 2 Open Season4/5At a given level, the rapid with the smallest margin for error. At some levels clients walk around it.
  Narrows 14Tricky, powerful “cauldron”
  Narrows 24 
  Narrows 33/4Interesting channel run with various options
  Let?s make a deal2/3Three channels are available, some of which are a little technical at low water
  Chimamba2/5One of the most technical rapids on the river at certain levels
  Upper Moemba4/5Mandatory scout to check a tricky sneak run before Lower Moemba
  Lower Moemba6No option ? portage
Day 3 Chibongo6Commonly known as the dam site (Heaven forbid! Sign up for the International Rivers Network right here) ? long portage
  Ghost Rider5The largest rapid on the Zambezi ? huge standing wave for 200 m
  Deep Throat5From a width of 1.7 km at Vic Falls, the Zambezi is compressed into a 6 m wide channel. An awesome sight and a portage at some levels.
  Asleep at the wheel4The river splits into two channels. The right leads into a waterfall; the left into a runnable rapid. Don?t fall asleep!
  Wave Train3Gentle rollercoaster
Days 4 & 5   Lots of flat water with small rapids

Source map Zambezi River: Wikipedia: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.