Tag Archives: rafting

Our Zambezi rafting experience (video)

9 Nov

Keep an eye on the raft which got stuck. That was us….. The only person who managed to stay in was Hilje! The question is, who was better off?

With many thanks to Odi

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Zim, alive and kicking!

24 Sep

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After just eating and eating, after far to many beers, after being lazy on beaches and terraces, it was finally time for some excercise! With no pressure from tight schedules of workhours or a social life and having all the time of the world, it is hard to keep up the running and exercise during the trip. Three months of hardly any exercise made our lazy asses started to be floppy and our bellies undeniable.

But there came Zimbabwe to the rescue! Meeting Issa in the bus to Harare was the kick-off of our sporty Zim experience. Issa’s stories about his boxing career made us excited so we booked a private boxingtraining on the grass field of our B&B the next day. Even though we could hardly move our bodies anymore we decided that we wanted more! We left Harare and took the bus to Vic Falls, the adrenaline and backpackers town north of Zim.

Vic Falls is obviously the place in Zim where you can visit the amazingly stunning and impressive Victoria Falls. The widest falls in the world that looses its water to the Zambezi river.
Falls + river = rapids. And rapids means….. Rafting! And not just rafting. No the Zambezi river is known for being one of the most challenging rivers to raft. Piece of cake for Manengu, but not for me. What is exactly so much fun about falling out of a boat into a rapid, swimming away from crocodiles, ending up underneath the boat or ending up in a so called ‘washing machine’ and thinking you are going to die!? That was what I was wondering together with some other travellers we had met in a bar. After quite some beers we decided that we were just as tough as all the others and signed up together for a boat and a whole day of rafting the next day. We did not realize than, that being scared on a raft is not very helpful; The better you peddle, the less chance the boat will flip over. But scared people tend to just hide away in the raft and completely forget to peddle, which obviously means…. flipping over.

It was only rapid three that already made our clumsy boat flip. Like some…. We got catapulted into the Zambezi….. Immediately we got known as the ‘Zambezi National Swimming Team’, as we still had 17 rapids to go and were already swimming. The names of the rapids did not really help either. Can you imagine approaching a huge and crazy rapid and your instructor says: “Okay guys, hold on tight please, because we are now approaching the “Devil’s Graveyard Rapid” or “The Angry Big Mama Is Going To Kill You Rapid” or even better: “The Suck your Brains Out Rapid…..”! And to make it even worse, he would each time add: “Please make sure when you fall out of the boat that you swim to the left, because otherwise you will be smashed against the rocks” or “please make sure when you fall out, that you stay in the middle of the rapid, because there are many crocodiles on the side here”. Whahaha!! Like you are able to THINK when you are being washed away by a rapid and having nearly death experiences!! And like you can do ANYTHING against the extreme current of the river!? But the more often I thought I was going to die and the more I looked at the scared faces of my companions, the more I started to understand the fun and thrill of rafting. Everytime when our instructor announced the next rapid I just laughed my head off. What else can you do except of surrendering and just enjoy it. And I did!! Rafting is the bomb! Can’t wait to raft the famous ‘Wall’ in India in November….

To complete our ‘Zim Exercise & Adreanaline Tour’ we decided to take our sore muscles onto a horse to do a horseback safari. These safaris are special, as you can approach the wild animals from extremely close. The animals are not able to smell us, as the smell of the horses is so much stronger than ours. This way we were able to approach elephants from just a few meters distance (like I did not have enough of that….) and walked right through a hurde of 60 buffalo’s. Such a special experience, realizing that the animals would have definitely attacked if we would have walked there.

Zim was not only just in time to get our lazy asses moving, but also just in time to safe us from becoming prejudice about Africa. After Zanzibar, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi we were starting to get a little synical, a bit frustrated and hopeless with some aspects of the general African mentality. What a relief to meet so many Zimbabweans that were well educated, fluent in English, hardworking and clearly on top of the current affairs. Do not get me wrong. One of the reasons that Africa is such an amazing continent to visit, is because of its differences with the Western World. But for most Africans you do hope they will have a better life one day soon. But unfortunately their different attitude, their lack of education and their way of only thinking about today and not tomorrow, makes change difficult. That is a complicated discussion we will leave for another time, but although Zimbabwe’s political difficulties are still very challenging, this country gave us hope and plenty of new energy!

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