Zambezi River Water Levels November 2016

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So once again the brutal heat of November is upon us! As happens every year; we gasp in shock as the heat presses relentlessly down on us day after day from a painfully blue, cloudless sky. To those of us sweltering here, in Victoria Falls, it will probably not come as any surprise to hear that the Zambezi River water levels are at their lowest levels in 7 years. The river was last recorded at this level at this time of the year in 1997 and in 2000. As we gaze fruitlessly into the cloudless sky, it gives us time to ponder how this actually affects us here on the ground in Victoria Falls.

Sticking with tradition let’s start with the bad news first… it means the middle of the day is probably not a good time to be out and about sightseeing, or doing anything particularly strenuous. It means blowing a fair amount of one’s budget on sunscreen, a very large hat and as many bottles of the coldest water that you can buy. It also means a longer walk out of the gorge at the end of your raft trip!

However, let’s look at the good news that comes with these lower than usual water levels. With the river being 5 centimetres lower than the average over the past 7 years on the same day, it means that the rapids on the white water rafting trip are slightly bigger and the adrenaline rush just that much more intense! It also means that the sandbanks on the edge of the Zambezi are more prominent and therefore more likely to be host to crocodiles basking (or is that baking) in the sunshine. Over the past week, the river has been dropping an average of ½ a centimeter a day which is also an indicator that there is less surface water lying around in the bush adjacent to the river. This forces wildlife, often in large herds, to come down to the river to drink therefore affording guests on cruise boats and on game drives excellent game viewing opportunities. Large herds of animals moving through the dry bush on their way to the river and ‘dust devils’ stirred up by the hot wind cause an extra layer of dust in the atmosphere, thereby creating the most spectacular sunsets! Once the intense heat of the day has abated it is a perfect opportunity to slake your thirst with an ice cold drink and watch the African bush settle down for the night.

So while we wait in eager anticipation for the annual rains to reach us and change these almost unprecedented low water levels, let’s make the most of the opportunities afforded to us now and get out there while it lasts! Written by Libby White

6 Reasons to go on a multi-day rafting trip on the Mighty Zambezi

Multi-day Rafting on the Mighty Zambezi

Wild Horizons Launches Multi-day Rafting Set Itineraries in 2016.

Victoria Falls is the adrenalin capital of Southern Africa. There are a range of exciting and scenic activities on offer and the most famed of the adrenaline activities is Zambezi white water rafting. The Zambezi River offers what many consider the best one day white water rafting run in the world.
Even better than the one day rafting, are multi-day rafting trips, which offer not only thrills and spills but also the chance  to see incredible scenery, camp on sparkling white beaches and enjoy hearty meals under starlight with friends. In 2016 Wild Horizons has added set departures to our multi day rafting trips- perfect for solo travellers and small groups.
* These trips will remain on a provisional basis until we have 6 confirmed guests per departure.

27th to 29th August 2016. 2 day, 2 night.

U$572.00 per person


12th to 16th September 2016. 5 day, 4 night.

U$1188.00 per person


These unique experiences let you experience roaring rapids in the midst of narrow canyons and broad valleys with white sandy beaches. Camp is set up on these untouched beaches and hearty dinners are enjoyed around roaring campfires with new friends. Our team of world class guides will safely guide you through the rapids on our self supported expedition and explain the geology and fascinating history of this area.

Between September and November rafting is at its best with lots of grade 4 and 5 rapids.  These adventures are between two and five days long. The journey snakes through the Songwe and Batoka gorges. Sheer rock walls arise hundreds of meters above the river. It is here where one may catch a glimpse of the threatened Taita falcon as its soars above you.

On the longer journeys basalt rocks give way to grassy banks and the grunts of vocal hippopotamus carry across the water. Rapids are interceded by calm stretches of crystal clear water where you can take a relaxing swim and watch the spectacular gorges, thick with vegetation.

If you want to escape on a “real holiday” where there are no phones, computers or stress, this is the perfect vacation for you.

7 Wonders of Victoria Falls: #2 Raft the Mighty Zambezi!

The one-day low water trip is considered to be the best one-day white water experience available in the world.

This will be one of those days that you will remember for the rest of your life. The intensity of rafting varies due to the fluctuating levels of water plunging through the gorges. On the whole, lower water levels means higher thrill levels and more rapids. As the water level drops, so the river follows the contours of the river bed more closely and the white water starts to really boil and crash through the gorge. Low water is generally from about August through to late December. However Rafting these grade of rapids at any time of the year is a thrilling experience and definitely not to be missed. It can also be a physically taxing activity so ensure you are prepared by eating before hand and taking the long walk out at the end slowly; take as many breaks as you need.

Right now Wild Horizons is offering a fantastic Low Water special.

‘White Water Madness’
Insanely Low Price- A full day of White Water Rafting with Wild Horizons for US$120 p/p

*excludes US$10 p/p River usage fee. *Valid for 2015

Why Travel with us?

Wild Horizons offers one-day rafting trips and take their safety seriously:

  • Wild Horizons is the largest rafting operator in Victoria Falls, carrying the highest number of guests and to go with this they have an exemplary safety record.
  • Each trip runs with a guide per boat and a trip leader for the group of boats. Each Trip Leader has 18 years or more of experience rafting. 18 years! That’s an amazing amount of experience and all of the guides under him have at least 6 years of rafting experience, basically all this adds up to you being in the best of care with guides who know how to have fun and keep you safe!
  • Wild Horizons offers a hearty and healthy meal, as well as a great selection of cold drinks at the top of the gorge something you’ll appreciate after a day of rafting and the admittedly tough walk out at the end. Sit back enjoy the meal and enjoy the massive sense of accomplishment after the adrenaline high of rafting the mighty Zambezi.

Email info@wildhorizons.co.zw to book or visit the website to book.

What to Bring:

  • Swimsuit and shorts but nothing that water will suck away
  • A way to secure glasses to yourself or they will be lost
  • T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt for sun protection
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (guides will have dry bag for this)
  • Sturdy shoes or sandals. Your shoes must be securely fitted to your feet (ie no flip-flops) or they will be lost!
  • A sense of Adventure and the desire for fun!

See our previous posts on the 7 Wonders of Victoria Falls #1 Seeing the Falls & #2 A Highwire Activity