White Water Rafting

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.

In 1997, approximately 50 000 people enjoyed white water rafting on the Zambezi on a stretch of water that is now internationally acclaimed as the best white water rafting trip available in the world.

Physical Features Of The 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 distance between rapids varies from 100 metres to 2 kms. 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. The British Canoe Union has classified the river Grade 5 “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas”. Nearly half of the rapids negotiated are Grade 5. (Grade 6 is unrunable – rapid number 9, “Commercial Suicide” is a Grade 6 rapid and we porter around this rapid).

Due to the steepness of the Gorge, wildlife is not abundant. On occasion klipspringer, rock hyrax, vervet monkeys and baboon are spotted. 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 during the trips and sightings of the very rare Taita Falcon are not uncommon. There are crocodile in the river, but they are small due to the unsuitability of the area for their habitation.

Rafting Options

These trips run year round subject to river levels. High Water run – approximately 5 January to 10 July (stopping in between if river too high, the river peaks in May).
Low Water run – approximately 10 July to 5 January.

Age Restriction

The minimum age is 15 years. The maximum age limit is dependent on the individual’s general state of health and physical fitness.

Food And Drinks Supplied

Tea and coffee with Biscuits and fruit is supplied at the meeting point, prior to departure. On the river each raft carries water. For both High and Low water trips, lunch is served at the end of the raft trip at the top of the Gorge together with complimentary soft drinks, cordials and beers.

Departure Times And Meeting Places

ZIMBABWE –ADVENTURE ZONE OFFICE (Opposite the 7-11 convenience store)
Low Water – 07h00 (Rapids 1-19) – You will get back to your Hotels by 15h00 latest.
High Water – 07h00 (Rapids 11-23) – You will get back to your Hotel by 14h00 latest.

REMEMBER TIA (This Is Africa) – So all times are flexible and we do our best to abide by these.

If you are going Low Water rafting , then you will be picked up from your hotels (between 06h30-06h50). So please make sure to get a packed breakfast or something to eat before the start. You are however, requested to reconfirm pick up times and hotels with our Victoria Falls office 24 hours before departure. You can otherwise meet at the booking Office located at Shop 4, Phumula Centre, Vic Falls at 06h45.

Videos and Photographs

Whilst on the river, videos and photographs will be taken by “Zambezi Memories”. Rafting videos and photographs will be shown in the Adventure Zone office. Copies of DVD’s and Photo CD’s shown and merchandise on display are all available for purchase.

Experience And Fitness

No previous rafting experience is required and you need not be proficient swimmers. At the beginning and at the end of the white water rafting trip, you have to negotiate a steep path in and out of the gorge. The walk out is 750 vertical feet up a gradient of 1 in 3, and a person of average fitness can manage this in about 20 minutes.

Rafts And Equipment

Our 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 . Xtreme high flotation life jackets and Protec safety helmets are issued to everyone before the day’s rafting. Wet suits are provided and usually used by everyone during the colder months (June / July).

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 you are 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 are carried on each trip. Everyone is required to sign the Adventure Zone White Water Rafting indemnity form prior to departure. Each trip leader is in radio contact with our bases in Victoria Falls and direct with M.A.R.S. (Medical Air Rescue Service).


Everyone is covered by Medical Air Rescue Services (MARS) through Adventure Zone, however this only covers you for emergency evacuation in life threatening situations. It does not cover your hospitalisation and medication. As such travel and medical insurance is compulsory for everyone. Please ensure that you bring the details of your insurance policy with you. Adventure Zone will not cover anyone should they not have insurance.

Adventure Zone has US$2 million public and passenger liability cover.

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