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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 Number Rapid Name Grade Description
Day 1 1   4/5 Near the base of the Falls, only approachable from Zambia
  2   3 Directly below the bridge. Beware of bungi jumpers!
  3   4 Easily avoidable hole
  4 Morning Glory 4/5 First major rapid
  5 Stairway to Heaven 5 25 ft (8m) drop over 30 ft (10m)
  6 Devil?s Toilet Bowl 4 Short rapid with large whirlpool
  7 Gulliver?s Travels 5 Longest and most technical on Day 1
  8 Midnight Diner 3/5 2 runs available
  9 Commercial Suicide 6 Portage
  10 Gnashing Jaws of Death 4 Easy run before lunch
  11 Overland truck eater 5 Don?t swim on a full stomach!
  12 A,B,C 3 Little Pigs 3/4 Interesting run leading into 13
  13 The Mother 4/5 At its best it?s a huge wave train
  14   3 S bend in the river
  15 Washing Machine 5 Unrunnable in the middle because of a large hole
  16 & 16.5 Terminator 4 Very exciting at high water
  17 The Bitch 5 Unrunnable because of 2 large holes
  18 Oblivion 5 The rapid on the Zambezi. More flips than any other rapid in the world
  19   2/3  
  20   2/3  
  21   2/3  
  22   2/3 Easy runs at the end of the day
  23   2/3  
  24   2/3  
  25   2/3  
Day 2   Open Season 4/5 At a given level, the rapid with the smallest margin for error. At some levels clients walk around it.
    Narrows 1 4 Tricky, powerful “cauldron”
    Narrows 2 4  
    Narrows 3 3/4 Interesting channel run with various options
    Let?s make a deal 2/3 Three channels are available, some of which are a little technical at low water
    Chimamba 2/5 One of the most technical rapids on the river at certain levels
    Upper Moemba 4/5 Mandatory scout to check a tricky sneak run before Lower Moemba
    Lower Moemba 6 No option ? portage
Day 3   Chibongo 6 Commonly known as the dam site (Heaven forbid! Sign up for the International Rivers Network right here) ? long portage
    Ghost Rider 5 The largest rapid on the Zambezi ? huge standing wave for 200 m
    Deep Throat 5 From 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 wheel 4 The river splits into two channels. The right leads into a waterfall; the left into a runnable rapid. Don?t fall asleep!
    Wave Train 3 Gentle 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.