Gnashing Jaws of Deathon January 6, 2014
The professional rafters and kayakers who take to the Zambezi River in the gorges day after day are a very select group of people. They are tough and extremely fit. Many of our guests want to do whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River; and they rely on these professional guides to keep them safe.
There are 25 rapids in and each one has a special name – and of course each rapid comes with its own harrowing tale of adventure! ‘Gnashing Jaws of Death’ is just one of them. Others include ‘Oblivion’, ‘Commercial Suicide’ and ‘The Washing Machine’. The Zambezi River rapids are Class 5 and are viewed as some of the best in the world. It is tremendous fun.
The morning starts with a walk down to the Boiling Pot just below the Victoria Falls. Here the water swirls around as it escapes from Gorge One making whirlpools. Up to eight guests climb into a raft along with their guide. They can either paddle themselves or just hold on tightly to the ropes around the edge of the raft. At the start, the raft is pushed out into the river where it is calm. This is a time to view the Victoria Falls from below – a stunning sight.
The rafts gently cruise along the river, under the Victoria Falls Bridge, and then the madness starts. Rapid after rapid greets the rafters with a short stretch of calm water in between.
Safety kayakers are also on the river. Some of the kayakers stay behind the rafts and others go in front. They are there to pick up anyone who spills out of the raft while going through the rapids. The rafts can turn upside down and then there are floating people all over the river. It is the kayakers’ job to collect them all and get them safely back into the raft. It all sounds a bit daunting but, actually, many of the passengers ask for the raft to be flipped – just for the fun of it.
At the end of the day everyone is very tired. The trip ends miles down the river with steep cliffs on either side. No-one really has the energy to climb the cliffs, so it is a good thing that a lift has been installed to hoist everyone to the top. From there vehicles wait to ferry the rafters back to the rafting headquarters to watch the video and enjoy an ice-cold drink.
An amazing day out in Livingstone!