Zambezi

National Geographic Traveler Magazine Selects our Zambezi trip as 50 Tours of a Life Time – 2009

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“Every year, the editorial team combs the world to find the most
authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided, and most
sustainable tours,” notes senior editor Norie Quintos. “This year, we
wanted to make sure that the trips we picked were also a great value,
given the economic climate. What we found is that there is no better
time to go on a guided tour than now as the traditional savings offered
by an outfitter being able to negotiate better rates on a trip’s
components is magnified by cheaper airfares, a strengthened dollar, and
more discounts, freebies, and extras.”


Raft the Zambezi
Jen
Eastwood vividly recalls the exhilaration she felt on this trip after
rafting the mighty Zambezi with its Class IV and V rapids stacked up at
almost one per mile. “We were rounding the bend and started hearing this
music. The people who live on the hill above where our camp was that
night had come down and were singing and dancing in our honor. We pulled
the boats up onto the rocks and joined them.” The outfitter has long
had a stake in Zimbabwe and its people—to the extent of helping local
river guides launch a kayak rental business. Bio Bio Expeditions:
“Zambezi Explorer, Zimbabwe,” 13 days; $3,700.

Report from the Zambezi trip September 2006

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Laurence and i were sitting above rapid number 5 on the Zambezi just
last week and realized its been 17 years since we first guided on the
Zambezi and here we are again dropping into the best rapids in the
world. We thanked the Zambezi river god Nyami Nyami for all the safe
passages,we peeled out of the eddy, and dropped into number 5 with huge
smiles! We co-trip lead our September 16th Zambezi trip and lead 22
people down the mighty Zambezi. The trip went off without a hitch and
everyone had a great time.

I realize there has been alot of bad news
coming out of Zimbabwe but the country is still safe as ever, the people
are some of the friendliest and most helpful in the world and this is
still a great time to visit Zimbabwe. Tourism has dropped off because of
all the bad economic news, but there is no resistance movement in
Zimbabwe and the locals are depending more than ever on the tourist
dollar.In fact this is even a better time to go because it is less
crowded and you get more personal service. We have considered moving our
base to Zambia on the other side of the river but for now everything is
still a go in Zimbabwe! In many ways it is like returning home for us
because we have made so many good friends and contacts in Zimbabwe.

Bio
Bio Expeditions along with the help of a few clients brought over a
handful of kayaks and all the necessary gear and started a free kayak
school for any local that wants to learn to kayak. This will provide a
fresh stream of new talented kayakers able to work and provide safety
for future rafting expeditions.

Our trips are planned for
September 2007 and we hope that if you have ever dreamed of rafting and
going on safari in Africa you will join us in 2007!

Warmest regards,
Marc Goddard

Alex Nicks and high water Zambezi

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Long time Bio Bio guide Alex Nicks talks about running the Zambezi at record high water, solo! 

Most people will have seen footage of the Zambezi and it’s
famous huge volume pool drop rapids. 
Of the many facets that makes the river so special a significant one is
its variation in flow. Victoria Falls is Approximately mid way through the
2500km course of the Zambezi and with natural flows rising during the rainy
season or ebbing during the dry season. This means that over 12 months the
White Water section below the Falls is always either rising or falling with a
vertical cycle of over 8 metres in some places in the gorge.

The result is that the world famous run occurs at the low
ebb of this cycle but as rains bring it up the upper section (rapids 1-10)
become commercially un-runnable. There are two reasons for this. Mainly because
the pools disappear and the raging, thunderous volume of water causes huge
boils and whirlpools that would swallow rafts and paying clients. Specifically
because the level means that the one portage (rapid no 9) can now no longer be
portaged. Putting in at rapid 1 commits you to a class 5+(++) rapid.

It can however be run by a kayak. And after finding myself
in the Zimbabwe for a shoot it’s too hard to pass up a run on this upper
section. Unfortunately I can’t find any one to go with me. Most of the river
staff are working in other countries as the commercial rafting is closed due to
the level and the locals are perhaps just too wise.

It’s always a dilemma deciding to solo. But sometimes
opportunities like being next to the Zambezi are just too good to pass up,
curiosity outweighs wisdom and I know this section too. So on the 18th
July I put in at rapid one on my own. The Porters who carried my boat in wish
me luck and wander off squabbling over the fist full of Kwatcha notes I’ve
given them.  I know their look,
they can’t quite work out if I’m mad but they’ve seen me here before so are
expectant that they’ll at least earn some more money carrying my boat out of
the gorge at the take out.

These huge flows mean I can’t even see the falls as I push
away from the boiling pot as spray 350ft high drifts though from the cascade to
the head of rapid one. It’s a quick hop across the cushion wave at rapid one
and I’m on my way, buoyed in confidence by the feel of the warm water across my
face and the rainbow formed by the mist from the falls. There are major hurdles
along this run, rapids 5, 7, the narrows at 7and a half, but at every stage of
this run Rapid 9, the commercial portage is at the back of my mind. If getting
there is a challenge, then certainly rapid 9 is the gauntlet.

It’s clichéd, but life is nothing without taking risks and
finding challenges. And none are more valuable than calculated risks based on
years of skill, experience and the odd arse kicking. Today I run Solo but I’m
with everything I ever leaned, I’m carrying all the confidence from years of
paddling with a huge array of paddlers on diverse runs around the world. Today
we’ll find out if that’s worth anything.

To see how it went …watch the footage from my head cam on
the short film ‘Solo’ at

http://www.kayaksession.com/best-short-film-awards-2012.php