White water rafting at Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River is awesome, as you go running down 25 rapids below the power of Victoria Falls.
White water rafting at Victoria Falls is on grade 5 rapids. To give you an idea in case you don’t know a grade 6 rapid is the highest grade.
As a complete beginner to white water rafting, a grade 5 rapid run on the mighty Zambezi River could seem like a bad idea, but it’s not too technical, so it can be done.
White Water Rafting at Victoria Falls
As for how to go about this white water rafting adventure it’s easy enough to do.
You can normally book through a hostel in Livingstone (the nearest town to Victoria Falls) or go to the adventure companies yourself.
The Beginning: White Water Rafting The Zambezi
After a brief safety briefing (of which you will most likely remember almost nothing about when thrown into a grade 5 rapid), you are put into teams and descend into a gorge below Victoria Falls to get into your boat.
Paddling out for the first time is extremely exciting as if you’re a beginner like me you will not have a clue what it will be like.
Getting the first taste going through a grade 1 rapid a big smile will most likely creep onto your face.
You know this is going to be super fun!
The guide in the back shouts instructions on what to do, wether to paddle forwards ,backwards, or get down for a big rapid drop.
Trying to keep up with what’s been said when being thrown around inside a big rapid can be rather comical, watching everyone paddling every which way for their lives.
Starting off gradually the rapids then get more and more difficult, with the excitement building and building.
Now you get to throw out words only seen in surfer movies: gnarly! awesome! etc.
Watching other boats flip ahead of you on a rapid is not exactly the thing you want to see before hitting that rapid.
And seeing others fall off the boat and start drifting down the river bounced around, lends a certain dread, but mostly adrenaline.
Speaking of flipping if you are planning any water based activities at Victoria Falls then it’s a good idea to get a waterproof backpack.
If you fall out of the raft a rescue boat will come and grab you before you go floating the rest of the Zambezi by yourself., and mini kayaks rush in to get you as well.
Safe and sound, although with a lot of the Zambezi river in your mouth, you will rejoin your raft and continue on (if like me you fell out!)
At one of the rapids you have to stop to walk around it as it is too hard for beginners, or even experienced rafters. It’s a grade 6 rapid (also known as a suicide rapid) and you can watch some of the kayakers try out their luck on it.
Stopping for a short break to have lunch, again with slightly sore arms from the paddling, you continue on.
Between rapids there is normally a few minutes of calm waters where you paddle and drift with the current.
This is very peaceful with the gorges walls high above you, and you can even get in from time to time to float downstream.
Then with a big rapid coming up again, you scramble back in the raft.
Entering a grade 5 rapid is hard to describe, but lets use the word gnarly one more time!
Rapid number 18. Thats what you will hear from the guide. Asking why it is their favourite rapid you will be told it’s known as the rapid where most rafts flip over!
With that in mind you enter it.
Of course not all rafts will flip over. However that does not mean that some people may get washed overboard.
Swallowing half the Zambezi river is not so much fun when getting swirled around like in a washing machine for a while.
But drifting downstream is certainly fun.
A guy on a kayak paddles ahead of you to get into a position to take photos. Ignore those large rapids ahead, wave for the camera!
With your arms becoming rather tired after several hours out on the river, being thrown all over the place and paddling hard, you reach the end.
White water rafting at Victoria Falls is a must do experience if you love adrenaline and nature.
It’s so much fun. You could call it awesome!
Useful links for white water rafting at Victoria Falls:
Book a hostel/hotel in Livingstone to stay and help you with booking white water rafting and other Victoria Falls activities:BOOK A PLACE TO STAY AT LIVINGSTONE HERE
You can also organise white water rafting at Victoria Falls with this guide company. Be aware when booking to check if it’s a half day or a full day trip. I did the full day and recommend that one.
If they don’t do a full day trip on all 25 rapids then check with your hotel/hostel in Livingstone to book it.
For more fun activities at Victoria Falls check out some of these other adventures I did there:
Going on safari to see lions and hippos at Chobe National Park across the border in Botswana.
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