Expedition Watch: Paddling African Rivers

Dec 1, 2011
Outside Magazine

Chris Korbulic, Photo Courtesy of Chris KorbulicCourtesy of Chris Korbulic

In late 2010, a team of kayakers including Chris Korbulic, Ben Stookesbury, and Hendrik Coetzee set off to notch first descents on the upper tributaries of the Congo River. On December 7, while paddling the Lukuga River in the Democratic Republic of Congo a crocodile attacked and killed Coetzee  (for more details read "Consumed"). Stookesbury and Korbulic immediately ended the expedition, but both kept kayaking. Over the course of the past year, they've launched whitewater expeditions to California's Sierra Nevadas and Brazil's Amazon. This December, they'll return to Africa to paddle unexplored whitewater in Namibia and Angola. Here are the details of that trip.

Who: Ben Stookesberry, Pedro Oliva, Pete Meredith, Chris Korbulic, Alex Nicks

What: A river-running expedition that starts on Zimbabwe's classic Zambezi River, travels north to the Kafue and Cunene Rivers on the Namibia/Angola border, and ends in northern Angola for a first descent on the Cuanza River.

When: The full team unites at the Zambezi the first week in December and plans to paddle through the second week of January.

Why: "In some ways, I have been preparing all year to make this trip. My return to the US following last year's expedition and the loss of Hendri Coetzee was bitter-sweet. I've thought about returning to Africa everyday since I've been back.This time, Pete Meredith, Hendri Coetzee's best mate, will be taking us from their original stomping grounds on the Zambezi and onward through rivers we had all imagined paddling together. It's really a dream come true. This trip will be a good meter as to how much, and what, has changed for all of us. We certainly call it a paddling trip, but if we keep our eyes open to more than the rivers, it promises to be much more.

Earlier this year, Ben, Pedro, and I filmed a second season of the Brazilian kayaking reality TV show, KAIAK, and as its viewership and support grows, so too does their taste for adventure. Last year, it was Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana. This year we will film in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and Angola. Satisfaction to follow on all fronts."
--Chris Korbulic

Follow: Check @ckorbulic on Twitter and watch the Born Out There blog for occasional updates

Main Sponsor: A Brazilian TV network funds filming of KAIAK

Via: Chris Korbulic

--Joe Spring

Filed To: Adventure, Paddling

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