Rafting Africa's Zambezi River

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 23-30, 1996

Backcountry ski tours in New Hampshire
Big Bend in winter
Rafting Africa's Zambezi River
Best hikes in the Pacific Northwest
Fat-tire touring in Colorado
Sea kayaking on Nevis

Rafting Africa's Zambezi River
Q: Are there any other outfitters that organize rafting trips on the Zambezi River besides Mountain Travel-Sobek? Addresses? Phone numbers?
Quan Van Nghe
Philadelphia, PA
[email protected]

A: Unfortunately, Mountain Travel-Sobek is the only outfitter I spoke to that runs regularly scheduled, multiday group rafting trips down the Zambezi. Their nine-day river expedition starts at a put-in at the foot of spectacular Victoria Falls (see photo, right) and braves the "Mighty Zs" Class IV-V rapids through narrow basalt gorges. Six of the eight nights are spent camping on the river's sandy banks and the other two nights in a Victoria Falls hotel. Land costs start at $1,750 per person, with departures running from August through November. Call 800-227-2384 for more details.

If you're determined to find an alternate outfitter, consider signing on with Africa Adventure Company's camping trips on the Lower Zambezi. The three- and five-day trips require a seven-person minimum, so you may be hard-pressed to find regular departure dates. Prices start at roughly $125 per person for the overnight trip, $200 for the three-day trip, and $400 for the five-day trip. Call 800-882-9453 for information.

You may also want to consider designing your own custom-built adventure with Abercrombie & Kent. All you need to do is decide how many days you want to be on the river, where you want to put in and take out, and whether you want to camp or stay in lodges, and they'll do the rest. There is no minimum group size, and prices vary widely, depending on trip specifics. Independent rafting itineraries start at $700 per person/double occupancy for a five-day trip. For more information, call the expert at A&K at 800-323-7308.

Another option is to forego a multiday expedition for one-day rafting trip as part of a longer African safari. African Travel runs a 15-day Kalahari Adventure trip for wildlife enthusiasts, with a six-day safari to the Etosha Pan followed by a five-day stint in the Victoria Falls region. Land cost for the trip will run you $4,795 per person, and you can tack on a one-day Zambezi raft trip for an additional $100. For more information and departure dates, call 818-507-7893.

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