Taking a tumble down the Zambezi

For Fun, Just Add Water

Friends Rafting

For Fun, Just Add Water (Low water vs High water rafting)

Richard Bangs once wrote that wild rivers are the earth’s renegades, defying gravity and dancing to their own tunes. Your first glimpse at the raging rapids that roll and churn down the Zambezi awaken the adventurer inside you, taunting you and seducing you. They beckon with their tremulous arms, teasing with their spurts of white water and daring you with their coiling waves.

The Zambezi is a moving, breathing part of the earth. It is the vein through which life flows and thrusts. Every stroke of your paddle takes you further than a vehicle on the road ever could. They say the first river you raft runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in you, the memories swirling like eddies in the pit of your stomach each time you remember it. The Zambezi morphs in shape and stature when the water levels drop or rise, yet each experience is exhilarating in its own way because life is simple- For fun, just add water.

When water levels drop, thrill levels soar. Between August and December, the river seems to be racing itself, plunging furiously between the lips of the gorge, cascading dramatically around very boulder and corner. It toys with the rafts with such precision, that every flip seems pre-meditated. During this time, expeditions begin at rapid number 1, the “Boiling Pot”. You take off from the white water rafting factory- the base of the Victoria Falls. The roar of the river diving down 100 meters of black basalt rock creates an ambience of adventure, purring at your inner adrenaline junkie. If you are after a heart racing, eye widening, and mind blowing rafting trip, then low water is what you need, and you have between August and December to get it.

During the high water seasons (January, February, March, May, June, July), gallons of water crash down the Victoria Falls, streaming into the thirsty gorge, and flooding the rocks and outcrops that form the rapids. When you dip your fingertips in to rippling water, you touch the last of what has gone before, and the first of what is still to come. At these times of the year, the river is more subdued, relaxing after a thunderous low water race. However, the sheer volume of water makes the first ten rapids unrunnable, and thus rafters will only tackle rapid 11 (The Over lander Eater) through to number 23 (The Morning Shave). As the water levels continue to creep higher and higher around March, rafters respectfully leave the Zambezi to her own devices, until they drop again around June.

Taking a tumble down the Zambezi

The Zambezi was designed by the dare devil in Mother Nature, and there is no theme park in the world that could ever compete. Contrary to popular belief, the river is not one long, frothing rapid. The “Devils Toilet Bowl”, “The Stairway to Heaven” and “Mothers Revenge” (just to name a few) spring before you in short, dramatic bursts.

The stretch of water between them is gentle and smooth- the calm before the storm. They are just long enough to allow you to drink in the incredible scenery and let the sun soak up the water on your skin. The soft slosh of water against the rafts is accompanied by exhilarated shouts and laughs that bounce off the walls of the gorge, as euphoric rafters share their stories and psych up for the next roller coaster. Cruising down this channel of water feels like cruising through a postcard. The most experienced photo editor in the world couldn’t enhance the beauty of the looming gorge stretching to meet the brilliant blue sky. Paddling through an exquisite crevice in the earth, flanked by indigenous flora and passing by inquisitive fauna, is humbling and breath taking in the same moment.
The Zambezi Low Water Rafting Season is finally here! LOW WATER rafting commenced 3 August 2017. Take on the Zambezi with Wild Horizons and the finest crew on the river – Africa’s Greatest Adventures!

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Jameson Vic Falls Carnival 2016

Victoria Falls, a quaint town home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, was transformed into festival central over the New Year period. The atmosphere hummed with excitement, music from multiple genres filled the air and the streets teamed with brightly dressed party goers. Land Rovers wound across the busy roads, packed with adrenaline seekers as they made their way between the rafting excursions, gorge swings, helicopter rides, and various pool parties dotted around the town.

The 3-day event came to life on the edge of the mighty Zambezi River. Beneath the surface of the glistening ripples live countless fish, crocodile and hippo. Birds dip and dive among the indigenous green trees that proudly overlook this impressive body of water. It is the ideal location to mark the start of the three-day extravaganza. There is no better way to spend an afternoon than lazing by the banks of a slow flowing river, listening to the gentle background music of talented DJ’s, with a refreshing drink at hand. The moon eventually took its place in the sky, and in small groups, people returned to town and pay a visit to the vibey Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge and Mvu bar, where the festivities continued into the early hours of the following morning.

On day two the Jameson Vic Falls Carnival raced on at full steam ahead with the popular party train, which took off on the 30th. Hundreds of people made their way to what can only be described as Grand Celebration Station. Waving their luminous purple wrist bands in the air above their heads, people leapt aboard the ride of a lifetime. Hogwarts Express pales in comparison to the party train, which was equipped with bars, music and hundreds of enthusiastic passengers. The train made its way to Jafuta, where a stage and strobe lights awaited the train. The high-pitched whistle of the train could barely drown the sound of the powerful music pouring from the speakers at the front. The smell of frying burger wafted across the eastern end of the party, while the sound of ice clattering into cooler boxes sounded at the west, where people were served their drinks in the light of the setting sun. Local DJ’s transported the crowd on a musical journey that only ended once the final train was ready to make its final departure home at 1 o’clock in the morning.

It is hard to believe that this was just the warm-up so the main event.

Like children to the Pied Pipers tune, so the carnival troopers danced their way onto the field where the NYE party unfolded. Feet pounded the earth from dusk until dawn as music from Locnville, Sketchy Bongo, GoodLuck and many more artists engulfed the crowd. The various food stalls also got a fair amount of attention as the night wore on and the munchies kicked in. People were lured off the dance floor by the delicious aroma of frying burger patties, and returned revitalised and ready to party on. The lights emanating from the stage gave the carnival an almost surreal feel. The vibrant colours washed over the dancefloor and swirled across the stage, reaching high into the navy blue sky towards the millions of stars that watched the carnival below. During the countdown into the new year, a soft mist drifted down, refreshing the party so that they could carry on dancing into the eagerly anticipated new year.

The Jameson Vic Falls Carnival is as unique and special as the town in which it takes place. The earth’s natural beauty flourishes here and can be seen everywhere, whether you are strolling through the rainforest, hurtling through the rapids or plunging into African air at the edge of a bungee cord. There is a marriage between cultural diversity and musical talent that leaves listeners with new found musical taste. Everyone you meet at the carnival is excited, friendly and ready for an adventure. The elation doesn’t end from the moment you step into Victoria Falls, to the moment you say your wistful goodbyes to her. Wild Horizons are proud to be Co-sponsors of the Jameson Vic Falls  Carnival.

The High Wire Hand Book

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Canopy Tour – Spectacular views make for great photo opportunities.

Over the course of our lives, human beings are taught a series of lessons aimed at keeping us safe and out of harm’s way. Don’t run with scissors, don’t talk to strangers, and most certainly do not throw yourself off a wooden platform perched on the edge of a cavernous gorge. It seems like useful enough advice. However, every year thousands of Adrenalin junkies break free from the chains of reason and allow their bodies to be swallowed whole by masses of African air as they plummet towards the rapids of the mighty Zambezi. The expert guides at Wild Horizons facilitate an experience of exhilaration with a level of professionalism and enthusiasm that has jumpers bouncing back for more.

Wild Horizon’s high wire activities are nestled between the jaws of the Batoka gorge. The open, natural design of the Lookout Café allows it to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding environment, and offers a unique 360 degree view of the excitement and beauty that unfolds there everyday. With the flying fox and canopy tour to the right, the zip line and gorge swing to the left and the luminous rafts plunging through the rapids below, even those sitting and sipping a cocktail in the café feel included in the adventure. The sheer extravagance of this natural wonder can be overwhelming even to those who have seen it one hundred times before. To help you navigate this landscape and decide which activity best suits you, we have put together a High Wire Hand Book.

The Canopy Tour

The canopy tour consists of a series of short zip lines that zig zag between the vegetation spilling from the rock face. This is an ideal activity for anyone who will appreciate the time to drink in an exclusive view of the scenery. Accompanied by a trained guide and occasionally a curious baboon, it is impossible not to have a smile stretched across your face as you whiz from one platform to the next.

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Canopy Tour – Each slide gives you more confidence…

The Flying Fox

It is not often in life that we can transform fantasy into reality, and anyone with the slightest sense of adventure has fantasized about flying. Strap on your GoPro, fasten that harness, kick off your shoes and you are just a short run away from flying with this next activity. The harness is designed to attach to your back, so that the moment your feet lose contact with the wooden platform, you are tilted and lifted into superman position (but with a view far more exquisite than he would have had). Stretch your arms out, with nothing to grasp but the cool wisps of wind as you sweep across the sky.

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The Flying Fox

The Zip Line

Anyone out there with a need for speed, this is the activity for you. Our zipline is the longest in the world, extending 425 meters across the gorge, suspended 120 meters over the rushing rapids and travelling around 106 kilometres per hour. There is the option of taking/dragging a friend along for the ride, or sailing solo. Ignoring the frantic voice in your head, you will sit on the edge of the platform and get your first full look at the adventure that awaits you. Slowly, you will inch off the ledge until you are dangling above this incredible spectacle. Point your toes, make sure your eyes are open and feel your body shoot forward into the beautiful abyss.

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The Tandem ZipLine

The Gorge Swing

The most important thing to know about the gorge swing, is that the scariest moments are the ones leading up to the jump- when you hook a trembling arm through the harness, take those tentative steps to the edge of the platform and peer down the steep drop below. This is the part your brain kicks into high alert. Tremors will shoot down your spine and every cell in your body will tingle in anticipation. However, the second you step into the African atmosphere the wind whips all the fear and doubt right off you. When there is nothing pulling you down but the force of gravity, your heart is in your throat and the only sounds your own screams of thrill, you will finally understand why so many people are addicted to this feeling. The drop may only last three seconds, but the memory lasts a lifetime. Perhaps it is the perceived danger of the jump, or the incomprehensibility of what you have accomplished, but during the swing at the bottom, you will feel more alive than on the day you were born.

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The Gorge Swing

Of course, there is an opportunity for creativity with this activity. For increased incredulity, some people prefer to do the jump backwards. For the extremely daring, there is a hand stand option. The choice is yours, and our experienced guides will be with you every step of the way to ensure that no matter which way you jump, you are 100% safe.

This section of Victoria Falls is where Africa really shows off, and whether you choose to do an activity or not, this is a corner of the world worth seeing. Written by Jess White