White Water Rafting Camping Trips
Lower Zambezi River Overnight Options
Perfect for solo travellers and couples/small groups.
Even better than the one-day rafting, are multi-day rafting trips, which offer not only thrills and spills but also the chance to camp on sparkling white beaches, see varied scenery and enjoy hearty meals under starlight.
These unique trips let you experience roaring rapids in the midst of narrow canyons and broad valleys with white sandy beaches. Camp is set up on these untouched beaches and hearty dinners are enjoyed around roaring campfires with new friends. A team of world class guides will safely guide you through the rapids on a self supported expedition and explain the geology and fascinating history of this area.
Between September and December rafting is at its best with lots of grade 4 and 5 rapids.
These adventures are between two and five days long. The journey snakes through the Songwe and Batoka gorges. Sheer rock walls arise hundreds of meters above the river. It is here where one may catch a glimpse of the threatened Taita falcon as its soars above you. On the longer journeys basalt rocks give way to grassy banks and the grunts of vocal hippopotamus carry across the water. Rapids are interceded by calm stretches of crystal clear water where you can take a relaxing swim and watch the spectacular gorges, thick with vegetation.
If you want to escape on a “real holiday” where there are no phones, computers or stress, this is the perfect vacation!
PHYSICAL FEATURES OF ZAMBEZI RIVER
The Zambezi River is classified as a high volume; pool-drop river i.e. there is little exposed rock either in the rapids or the pools below the rapids.
The Gorge itself is approximately 400ft deep at the put-in point and 750ft at the take out point. The river drops about 400ft over the 24km covered in the one-day raft trip and the depth of the river can reach 200ft.
Commercial rafting first commenced on the Zambezi River in 1981 and since then this activity has grown in popularity to the point where a rafting trip on the Zambezi is now a regular feature in most tourists’ itineraries.
Approximately 50 000 people per year enjoy white water rafting on the Zambezi on a stretch of water that is nowinternationally acclaimed as the best white water rafting trip available in the world
Batoka gorge is classified as Grade 5 “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas”. The distance between rapids varies from 100 metres to 2 kms.
Due to the steepness of the Gorge, wildlife is not abundant. However, the birdlife is far more spectacular. Black eagle, augur buzzard, black stork, pied and giant kingfisher and red winged starling are some of the birds normally seen
There are crocodile in the river, but they are small due to the unsuitability of the area for their habitation
RAFTING CAMPING TRIPS AVAILABLE
FULL DAY / OVERNIGHT:
¨ Day ONE: Full day of rafting as per the usual one day low water rafting trip ending just above rapid no 23. Clients will overnight at our campsite situated on the banks of the river. Clients will be supplied with tents, bedrolls and sleeping bags from the operations company. It is possible to bring your own sleeping bags, if required. Clients will enjoy a delicious dinner under the big African night sky warmed by a big bonfire. We will supply beers (Castle), red and white wine as well as gin and tonic. Should clients wish to have other alcoholic beverages they can be purchased by clients prior to the start of the trip.
¨ Day TWO:After enjoying a full English breakfast, clients walk out of the gorge where a vehicle will be waiting to transfer them back to town. The drive back from the gorge is approximately 25kms. Clients should return to town by around 10h00
2.5 DAY TRIP:
(The camp sites may change due to movement of beaches/camp sites):
¨ DAY ONE: Full day of rafting as usual one day low water rafting trip and camping below rapid 23, at our overnight camp.
¨ DAY TWO: From hereafter the flat stretches between rapids becomes longer. Your first rapid is ‘Open Season’. We then continue through ‘The Narrows’ after which we have lunch. After lunch we head on down the river through ‘Chimamba’ and “Upper Mowemba” to our overnight campsite just below “Upper Mowemba”.
DAY THREE: After enjoying a full English breakfast, we portage “Lower Mowemba” and continue along to the Dam site where we are met by our porters to guide us to the vehicle at the top of the gorge. Once all the equipment is up, we board the vehicle and head for home. The drive back to town is 62km, with the first 12km being very slow, thereafter it is a secondary road all the way home and will take about 2 hours maximum
¨ If clients need to arrive back in town earlier, we can change the overnight stop to be at the Dam site at top of the gorge overlooking the “Ghost Rider” rapids. After breakfast, clients board the vehicle and will go directly back to town.
5 DAY TRIP:
(The trip varies from day 3 onwards depending on water levels, but covers the same section of the river. The campsites may change due to movement of beaches/camp sites):
¨ DAY ONE: Full day of rafting as per the usual one day low water rafting trip and camping at our overnight camp just below rapid 23.
¨ DAY TWO: From hereafter the flat stretches between rapids becomes longer. Your first rapid is ‘Open Season’. We then continue through ‘The Narrows’ after which we stop for lunch. After lunch we head on down the river through ‘Chimamba’ and “Upper Mowemba” to our overnight campsite just beyond “Upper Mowemba”.
¨ DAY THREE: After portaging “Lower Mowemba” we continue along to the Dam site where we do our third and final portage. After this we continue downstream to “Ghost Rider” then “Deep Throat” where we ghost the rafts through while having lunch. We raft through another section of narrows with short sharp drops, very exciting! We then conclude the day with “Asleep at the Wheel” which is the last major rapid of the trip. We camp downstream of “Asleep at the Wheel”.
¨ DAY FOUR: After breakfast, continue downstream through Grade 2 and Grade 3 rapids up to Hippo’s camp where you will spend the night on the banks of the river.
¨ DAY FIVE: After breakfast, we navigate ‘Fish Eagle’s Delight’ and onto our take out point at Matetsi where we are transported back to town. The transfer is a 3 hour drive along the road from Milibizi to Hwange through to Victoria Falls. Set Departure dates
Clients should bring:
- Sleeping bag (we do have these but people usually prefer to use their own),
- Shorts (quick drying type is best)
- T-shirts (quick drying type is best)
- swimming costume (or board shorts)
- shoes which you do not mind getting wet,
- head torch,
- towel and tracksuit for the evenings,
- cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent and toiletries.
RAFT – CAMPING TRIPS INCLUDE:
¨ All meals, soft drinks, orange juice (cordial), water as well as small amount of beers, gin & tonics and wines. However due to the longevity of the trip these are not bottomless supplies. Should clients have a preferred alcohol, they may supply these themselves.
¨ Guides and Safety Kayakers.
¨ All rafting equipment.
¨ All camping equipment.
¨ Sleeping bags (if required, however we recommend clients bring their own).
¨ First aid kit
¨ Satellite phone (for safety)
Full English breakfast including eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausage, baked beans, toast, jam with tea and coffee
Lunches may change slightly but they will be similar to the below
- Chicken pieces, potato salad and green salad plus bread or rolls
- Cold meat, rolls and salad. Bread or rolls
- Mini Meatballs in sauce, pasta and green salad. Bread or rolls
- Steak, potato salad and green salad. Bread or rolls
- Cottage pie with coleslaw salad. Bread or rolls
- Beef lasagna with green salad. Bread or rolls
Dinners may vary but will be similar to the below options
- Rice, chicken curry and green salad with bread or rolls and dessert of ice cream
- SpaghettiBolognesewith cheese, green salad and dessert of pancakes & cinnamon sugar
- Steak/Chops and chips with green salad or vegetables. Dessert of trifle
- Fish (bream or hake fillet) with mashed potato and green salad plus tartar sauce. Dessert of fruit crepes with syrup
- Braai over the fire including boerwors, steak or chicken (two meats), baked potatoes, green salad, garlic bread. Dessert of Fruit Salad
- Beef kebabs, potato salad, coleslaw. Bread or Rolls. Dessert of Chocolate Bananas
FOOD AND DRINKS SUPPLIED
On overnights we supply dinner and a full English cooked breakfast.
On the overnight, 2.5 and 5 day trips we supply all meals. The camps are stocked with beers, wines (SA), soft drinks and gin & tonics (obviously not copious quantities). Clients may bring their own spirits or drinks, if they wish.
DEPARTURE TIMES AND MEETING PLACES
Raft – Camping trips run from Mid August to late December. Please note that these trips are water level dependant and only operate in the low water season.
All trips depart from Victoria Falls returning on the last day of the trip days, so on day 3 of the 2.5 day and on day 5 of the 5 day.
We now have set departure dates for our 2.5 day and 5 day trips.
Overnightcamping trips can be done on any day.
VIDEOS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
2.5 day and 5 day trip videos can be organised on request.
EXPERIENCE AND FITNESS
No previous rafting experience is required and clients need not be proficient swimmers. At the beginning and at the end of the 2.5 day raft trip clients have to negotiate a steep path in and a long (1.6km) walk out of the Gorge. The walkout is 750 vertical feet up at a reasonable gradient, and a person of average fitness can manage this in about 30 minutes.
RAFTS AND EQUIPMENT
The company uses some of the finest equipment on the market to ensure that the trip is a safe and enjoyable one. Rafts are purchased from Ark in South Africa and are the tried and tested river rafts required for the Zambezi River. Extreme high flotation life jackets and safety helmets are issued to clients for the rafting trips. We supply all camping equipment, tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, dry bags, etc. on our overnight, 2.5 day and 5 day trips.
Clients need to bring shorts, T-shirts, costume, shoes, towel and tracksuit for the evenings, cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant and toiletries.
GUIDES AND SAFETY
Guides are fully trained professionals and all hold valid advanced first aid certificates. Whilst every precaution is taken, it is essential that agents make clients aware that there is a risk of injury associated with the activity of rafting on the Zambezi. A comprehensive first aid kit and skid stretcher is carried on each trip. Each client is required to sign the operations company White Water Rafting indemnity form prior to departure. Each trip leader is in radio and Satellite phone contact with our base in Victoria Falls and direct with M.A.R.S. (Medical Air Rescue Service).
Our activities are all covered by a US$ 2 000 000 Public Liability Insurance Policy with SATIB and this is underwritten by Lloyds of London.
Information & Maps
Zambezi River Camping trip
ask a local – its free
the afrisafari group