An adrenaline junkies paradise.

Posted: 13/09/2011 in Africa

Livingston in Zambia is an adrenaline junkies paradise but there are also things for those not so in need of a quick heart start. Of course you also need to be a millionaire to afford it all! Here’s some of the things you can do:

Bungee jump
Absail
Rock climb
Gorge swing
Flying fox
White water rafting
Jet boating
Microflight flight over Vic falls
Helicopter flight over Vic falls
Walk with the lions
Safari
Elephant ride
River cruise
High tea

I had planned on doing a microflight but mostly for the photographic opportunities. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take my camera on the plane, actually I don’t think you can call it a plane, more like a couch with wings. Anyway I couldn’t take my camera so I wasn’t about to pay $145 for 15 minutes, only 5 of which would be over the falls and not be able to take photos. Of course i could buy their photos for $35!!! I’m confused, they’re worried about a camera dropping on someone’s head but not about people falling off the edge of a waterfall, hmm logical!

As a retiring adrenaline junkie I decided to see if I still had any nerves and do the white water rafting and why wouldn’t I? It is the worlds greatest place to raft with some of the most challenging rapids around. Can I tell you, the challenge is not so much the rapids themselves but sitting through the safety briefing without having an accidental loo stop! Im sitting there listening to him talk about how not to drown, why we have to get people in the raft quickly (prevent drowning), what to do if your raft flips (how not to get sucked down the rapids and drown), what to do if your stuck under a flipped raft (how not to drown under a flipped raft) and am thinking why am I doing this again. Then comes the indemnity form and it’s not just the rapids I need to worry about but the walk down the mountain (cliff….seems like). Phrases like “I’m aware of the risk of walking in an area with unstable rocks….” and “I won’t hold the company responsible if I get sucked under by a rapid and ravaged to death by a Zambezi croc”, ok maybe that bit wasn’t in there but it should have been! So we take our truck ride out the some seemingly random area and listen to some MORE safety briefing. Risk of drowning, must help each other, rapids are dangerous, the life vest has to be suffocatingly tight or it will slip off and you’ll drown etc… I have photos and video where I think you can actually pinpoint the moment I crapped myself.

Suitably dressed, vested and carrying our oars we make our way down the steep mountain then through dense bushland, past a burning tree (huh!?), until we come to the mighty Zambezi river. In our boat we have lessons on how to paddle, what our instructors various directions mean and we practice pulling each other out of the water and into the raft. Then he tells us the name of the first rapid. ???? Are you kidding me, who named these things and why are they called that? I found out as we rounded the corner. Breathe, breathe, breathe…. What an experience! We didn’t flip or drown (hurrah!) and I was pumped. The next rapid is called commercial suicide what the? Why would i go down a rapid with a nme like that. Well we actually didn’t because companies will loose their licence if they take rafters on it, thus the name, We have to get out and walk around it looking our for crocs as we go! We spend the next 3 hours making our way down the river passing through 16 more rapids all of varying risk. By now I’m more relaxed but I do feel nervous again when Vinney our instructor says things like “its really important we row hard to the right, we have to get this one right, you don’t want to end up in the washing machine” or “we can’t flip at the first sister because the other 2 sisters come immediately after it and you can’t get caught in all 3”. Yay, I’m confident!!! About 1 hour in we’re in a calm area of the river and James asks if we can jump in. I’m hot and love the water so I want to jump in too. Vinney says it’s ok but it’s not until we’re in that he says, jokingly…maybe, personally he probably wouldn’t because of crocs and all! Thanks Vinney! At another point we come to a mild rapid and we’re told we can safely jump in a float down. What an experience that was. It looks like the water is moving at a slow to moderate pace but when your in the water the river bank is flying past. And you just bob up and down in your lung squeezing life vest. It was so relaxing until the moment we passed a small croc on the river bank right next to us,. Its not so bad he’s on the river bank. Suddenly I see him SLIDE INTO THE WATER!!!! There I am with my raft way behind me and none of the rescue kayak’s real close by and I’m bobbing down a rapid with a croc swimming somewhere next to me. No words…..

We survived, didn’t drown, didn’t get eaten by crocs and didn’t flip once. And we made some new friends which we shared dinner and drinks with that night. Experience of a lifetime!

Rafting the Zambezi!

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  2. Michelle Harding says:

    I love reading your words patsy!!! Michelle xx

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