Big change may be coming to Africa’s fourth-largest river. While commercial outfitters have been running trips on the Zambezi since 1982, the river may soon be impassable, as the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe continue to discuss a proposed dam construction below Victoria Falls. To get ahead of the $3 billion project, British Columbia–based outfitter ROAM (Rivers, Oceans, and Mountains) is offering rafting adventures through the Batoka Gorge, the area due to be dammed, allowing visitors to enjoy the Zambezi while it’s still wild.
Last October, I joined Brian McCutcheon and raft guide “Hippo” Moses Ngoma to see the river firsthand. Our expedition warmed up with a two-day “ducky” canoe float down some easier rapids above Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the natural world. This was followed by three days of real-deal rafting over 34 miles and through 30 large rapids, including Class V passages with names like the Gnashing Jaws of Death, Oblivion, and Open Season.