One of the few places left in the world where the South African rand
is worth something. So that was where we went for three weeks in October.
We left Vic Falls into Zambia with two 4x4s and 4 canoes for good measure. Destination, well, it was not quite decided at the time but was upriver somewhere, but we had a GPS to navigate (which heightened our spirits somewhat), but allas...no map. So off to Livingstone where we managed to locate a map or two. That day was spent driving around organising lodges to crash at for the night. The roads were virtually non existant and we got two punctured and two breakdowns, making camp by nightfall...just.
"Happy juice"(gin, mazoe orange juice and bulhazia water for good measure")flowed rather excessively on that particular night, rendering most not too well in the morning.
The thought of sixty five kilometers of solid paddeling soon sobered the team. And we hit the river at 5am.
16 hours later darkness hit us and so did some rapids One canoe tipped and we lost a paddle, the upside being that nobody got eaten by crocs! NO PROBLEM...we made camp at 10pm very exhaused.
The following day more rapids were encounted with more hippo and crocodiles than the previous day. Pete and Alister lost their canoe down a rapid and found themselves running through the jungle past villages and dodging crocs after their canoe which was eventually retrieved after a suicide swim into the middel of the river. But it was not over as 100 meters on they paddled down the wrong channel and went down the rapid that we were trying to avoid. The locals had informed us that there had been a death there 2 weeks earlier. They ended up hitting a tree and Pete managed to fracture his arm. That night Brian was roped into fixing the Lodges computer and as a result the nights stay cost us virtually nothing.
The third day dawned with more rapids and again we went down the wrong channel and nearly shot a grade 4 rapid. Portaging was required which was not easy due to the terrain. Alister named that specific rapid,"Death Valley". That night Brian was found fixing the next lodges computer and then prompty got rather ill.
The next day the rondevous point at midday was almost missed between the 4x4s and the canoeists which resulted in having to paddle back up a rapid. Pete in the Landcruiser with the trailer and Guy acting as navigator got lost and the road they were travelling on went into a jungle and fallen trees had to be negotiated and the trailer unhitched a few times. The road finally petered out altogether at a sewerage farm leaving the other vehicle stuck in the soakaway. They finally found the main road again, about 2 km from where they had left it!
On the river Brian and Alister were charged by five hippos and just made it to the bank.(hippos don't like to get out of the water during the day)
That night was spent near Vic Falls on the Zambian side.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
Pete, having fractured one arm on the canoeing chapter, decided that three limbs were almost as good as four when it came to holding on for dear life in the rapids. So we set off (Brian & Pete), the rapids apparently the best in 20 years.(I have a feeling they meant "the worst")Boats in and 10 very good rapids later lunch happened and then another 10 very good rapids later, it was time for the ascent out of the canyon to the beers...Brian and Pete at the head of the pack and therefore getting their moneys worth of ice cold castle.
go with "Safari Par Excellence" they are really good.