The Experience

Considered the best one day rafting experience in the world, the Zambezi River flowing down the Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its white-water rapids and striking scenery, deep within the sheer black cliffs of the Batoka Gorge afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller-coaster ride along a route carved over millennia by the middle Zambezi River. SAFPAR offer a Full Day Rafting experience and the season is split into Low or High Water. Choose a full-day or opt for an overnight / multi-day experience – the ultimate camping experience! 

Why SAFPAR?

 

SAFPAR have been rafting the Mighty Zambezi since 1988! The passion, experience and culture of our rafting team is second to none. SAFPAR is currently the only company on the Zambezi with a 100% guide certification under the International Rafting Federation. Our guide team also hold American Heart Association Basic Life Support qualifications and we have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on every trip. All guides are fully trained professionals and hold valid advanced first aid certificates. 

  • We do not operate elsewhere! SAFPAR has been operating on the Zambezi since 1988.
  • SAFPAR are rated #1 Rafting Operator by clients on TripAdvisor
  • We have a highly experienced, knowledgeable yet fun team.
  • All our rafting guides are accredited to the International Rafting Federation.
  • High quality rafts and equipment.
  • Easy online reservation system.
  • Full on-on-the ground support from our team from pre-arrival to post-departure.
  • We have an extensive logistical support system that includes helicopter support and satellite communication

 AND THERE’S MORE!

  • SAFPAR have a professional, independent cameramen accompanying each trip.
  • Full HD video / photographs of your excursion will be uploaded into the cloud and made available to all clients with our compliments!
  • Clients have the option to take a helicopter flight out of the Batoka Gorge.
  • All clients will complete the day at The Victoria Falls Waterfront where we offer a hearty meal with your fellow rafters and crew.
  • The” been there, done that” SAFPAR rafting t-shirt is available for purchase in the shop after your trip.
  • Discounted packages are available for other SAFPAR experiences – please enquire.

Time of the year

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH WATER AND LOW WATER?

 “LOW WATER”

The “Low Water” Rafting Season runs approximately from the middle of August to the middle of January, depending upon the water level / rains each year. This can change as and when levels increase or decrease.  Our low water trips depart from directly below Victoria Falls in the Boiling Pot.  Note! At the end of the rafting trip, rafters are required to hike 200m out of the gorge, this can be challenging in the warmer months in the middle of the day. While you are not required to be an extreme athlete, the ability to do these 20-25 minute hikes is an indication of fitness levels required for this incredible river.

RAFTING IN LOW WATER (Approx. Aug to January) Full Day Rapids 1 – 21

 “HIGH WATER”

The “High Water” Rafting Season runs approximately from the middle of January to the beginning of August, depending upon the water level / rains each year.  Please note that rafting can close around April /May for safety reasons due to water levels being too high. Note! At the end of the rafting trip, rafters are required to hike 200m out of the gorge, this can be challenging in the warmer months in the middle of the day.

RAFTING IN HIGH WATER (Approx. Feb to June) High Water Rapids 14 – 21

The Rapids

 

Rapids #1 – 21

The first 10 rapids we meet will be fun but challenging! Our experienced crew are there to see you through some of the most intense white-water on the planet. You will be tested by Class 3-5 rapids with names such as Morning Glory, Stairway to Heaven, The Devils Toilet Bowl and the Mighty Muncher before our portage around the Class 6 Rapid 9 Commercial Suicide – watch our kayakers take on one of the biggest rapids on any River! The next section of the Zambezi River is a little less challenging than the first 10 rapids. Meet the Three Ugly Sisters closely followed by the Washing Machine, Terminator 1 and 2 and the world-famous Rapid 18 “Oblivion.” It is certainly the most photographed in the world and results in more flips and big water surfs than any other on the planet!

The Zambezi River in the Batoka Gorge was first navigated in 1981 and over the years the rapids were named – some fearsome in nature, others fearsome in name! There are also many ‘bonus’ rapids without names.

The Devil’s Toilet Bowl, Rapid #6

Gulliver’s Travels, Rapid #7

The Midnight Diner, Rapid #8 Choose your line from the menu – ‘Kentucky-Fried Chicken Line’, the ‘Mighty Muncher’ or ‘Star Trek’

 

Commercial Suicide, Rapid #9

 

The Washing Machine, Rapid #15

Terminator I & II, Rapids #16A & #16B

Double Trouble, Rapid #17 

“Oblivion” Rapid #18

 

 

Day Trips & Discounted Combos

Raft | Sunset Cruise Combo

*Minimum age: 15 years old

Raft | Riverboard Combo

*Minimum age: 15 years old

  • Class V Zambezi white-water rafting – rated the Best One Day Rafting experience in the world!
  • Full-Day Rafting begins under the Victoria Falls at Rapid #1 (depending on water levels) aka The Boiling Pot all the way to Rapid #21.
  • Option to take a helicopter flight out of the Batoka Gorge, see Victoria Falls with a birds-eye view.
  • The ultimate thrill! Option to include a Riverboard Experience with your Rafting!
  • Meet at the end of the day at The Victoria Falls Waterfront for a hearty meal with your Rafters!
  • Watch your day’s Rafting experience on the Big Screen after your trip. Photographs and videos available in the cloud for free soon after!

If you have been Whitewater Rafting before or want some extra adrenaline why not try River Boarding. Safari Par Excellence run Zambezi River Boarding trips in conjunction with our Zambezi white water rafting day trips. Equipped with a Body Board and Churchill style fins, run the enormous rapids and surf the standing waves of the Zambezi river.

 At least average fitness is needed and some experience with surfing will help. All River Boarding trips run alongside the Rafting Trips, there is always a space in a raft available if you are tired or suffering from cramp. River Boarding is run as a combo, half River Boarding and half Rafting allowing for an unforgettable experience of both. River boarding combined with the best white water rafting in the world is a once in a lifetime experience!

What to bring?

    • Swimwear
    • Light quick-drying shirt and shorts
    • Water shoes / trainers that are good for hiking.
    • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses with band (at your own risk)
    • Go-Pro / Waterproof Camera (at your own risk)
    • Personal Medications you may require

SAFPAR’s Annual Rafting Festival

Zambezi White Water Festival 2021.

Livingstone’s wildest event is back – get your teams together now for another epic weekend of fun, festivities, and extreme Zambezi action. This competition is open to amateur teams. Individuals are welcome to enter and we will team you up with an epic crew. 

What is a festival without festivities?

Festival-goers will enjoy two days of big water, timed events, great food and amazing music in one of the world’s most unique settings. Be a part of a community of like-minded people for an unforgettable weekend! Teams of six skippered by an International Rafting Federation accredited guide will battle it out for the grand title and some rather grand prizes in a two-day event.

Considered one of the best stretches of commercially run river in the world, Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. It’s white-water rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller-coaster ride along a route carved over millennia by the Great Zambezi.

The Zambezi Whitewater Festival 2021 is proudly brought to you by Safari Par Excellence – Zambezi’s Top Adventure Specialists since 1988.

2021 Zambezi Whitewater Festival

Day(s)

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Rafting Festival: Timings at a Glance

Zambezi Whitewater Festival

The event takes place over two days and our accommodation packages include three nights’ accommodation and access to all the events around the river festival.

Friday 22 October

Registration opens from 13h00 @ The Victoria Falls Waterfront

Saturday 23rd October

Competition Day 1

Sunday 24th of October

Competition Day 2, prize giving and PARTY!

Monday 25th of October

Departure and/or recovery day

Rafting Festival: Timings in Detail

Friday 22nd of October: Welcome

13h00 – 16h00 

Registration: will take place at The Waterfront reception. Please collect your registration packs and enjoy a few (hundred) beers while you settle in! We have a fully stocked bar and restaurant should you need a meal or some refreshments. 

Saturday 23rd of October: Rapids #1 to #13

07h45: Meet at the auditorium for a bacon and egg roll, raft kit distribution, and safety briefing.

08h15: Zambezi-time!

15h30: Back to The Waterfront for a cold beer, dinner, and cruise

*CRUISE LEAVES AT 16h30 – please don’t be that team that arrives late for the cruise departure – Pirate Rules apply, the boat will leave you. Dress up this year is ‘Zambia Themed’ – we are sticking to our roots and honoring our local culture.

Sunday 24th of October: Rapids #13 to #21 (Adam’s Camp)

 07h45: Meet at the auditorium for a bacon and egg roll, raft kit distribution, and safety briefing.

08h15: Zambezi-time!

15h30: Back to The Waterfront for a cold beer, dinner, judging of the Surf & Turf challenge, and prize-giving.

POST FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS

 

Details to be confirmed closer to the event. This usually involves some good music (local talent), plenty of refreshments and good food on the banks of the Zambezi.

Point Events

EVENT 1 ZAMBEZI TEST OF THE BEST

EVENT 2 ZAMBEZI LE’MANS SPRINT

EVENT 3 ZAMBEZI SLALOM

EVENT 4 ZAMBEZI SURF & TURF

EVENT 1 ZAMBEZI TEST OF THE BEST

EVENT 2 ZAMBEZI LE’MANS SPRINT

EVENT 3 ZAMBEZI SLALOM

EVENT 4 ZAMBEZI SURF & TURF

Timed race from the Boiling Pot below Victoria Falls to the eddy below rapid #4 “Morning Glory”. Rafts set off at one minute intervals, times are converted into points.
Race water distance: 2300m

Mass start from the pool below Rapid # 5 to the pool above rapid #7. One team member to touch attainment point on river bank at finish. There is a strong element of moving on the rocks here to reach attainment point. Team finishing positions and times accrue points.
Race water distance: 700m

One raft at a time down the course with attainment areas, start at Rapid #12 pool. Finish-jailhouse eddy Rapid #13. A timed race with time penalties for missing attainment targets, team positions and times accrue points. 

Race water distance: 900m with attainments excluded

Best surf in the iconic rapid #18. To be judged in the Waterfront Bar by the festival goers. Not scored in the overall event.
Separate prizes.

Participant Entrant Fees

PARTICIPANT FEES FOR 2021!

STANDARD PARTICIPATION RATE: $1500 per team of 6 OR $250 per person

EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT: $1320 for first teams to book and PAY. Teams must pay by 30 September 2021 to qualify. Please email zaminfo@safpar.com to book. (Please add your team name in your booking request)

REPEAT TEAM PARTICIPATION RATE:  teams who participated in 2020 can also register for a VIP price of $1320. You must pay by 30 Septemner 2021 to qualify (Please add your team name as your booking).

FREE CAMPING and other discounted accommodation options are available for all participants at The Waterfront, Livingstone, Zambia.

DISCOUNTED CRUISE: Makumbi Sunset Cruise 50% off cruise for teams $30.00 per person
Makumbi Sunset Cruise for local family & friends $48.00 per person

Accommodation

GET IN TOUCH TO BOOK

Email: zaminfo@safpar.com

Enquire for local Zambian Resident Rates  

Meet the Team

We are proud to say that all the guides at Safari Par Excellence are IRF accredited. We are the only rafting company on the Zambezi River where every guide is IRF accredited, thus making us the most experienced rafting company on the Zambezi River.

Standford "Sticky"

Standford "Sticky"

Videographer & Safety Kayaker

9 Seasons on the Zambezi.
A talented photographer and
videographer.

Boyd

Boyd

Raft Guide

21 Seasons on the Zambezi.
One of our true characters, a little crazy and
the most requested guide for return visitors.

Davis "Davey"

Davis "Davey"

Raft Guide & Safety Kayaker

23 Seasons on the Zambezi.
Started rafting with Sobek in 1996.
One of the originals.

Vorster

Vorster

Raft Guide, Safety Kayaker & River Board Guide

19 Seasons on the Zambezi. From the famous Maplanga family, one of 4 brothers who have all worked for Safari Par Excellence. (This guy does it all !)

Henry

Henry

Raft Guide

7 Seasons on the Zambezi.
Henry, a qualified pool lifeguard is relatively new to the team,
killer smile and doing a fantastic job.

Melvin

Melvin

Trip Leader & River Board Guide

21 Seasons on the Zambezi. Probably Zambia’s best fisherman. Born in Chilobe village 5km from the Zambezi, Melvin spends his time off fishing in the gorge.

Sven "Seven"

Sven "Seven"

Operations Manager, Raft Guide & Safety Kayaker

18 Seasons on the Zambezi, also Austria, Switzerland, Uganda, Morocco and Turkey. Been around a while, really should get in a kayak more often!

Julius "Mr Muscles"

Julius "Mr Muscles"

Videographer & River Board Guide

11 Seasons on the Zambezi.
Outstanding kayaker, happiest behind the camera.

Sean

Sean

Trip Leader, Videographer & River Board Guide

15 Seasons on the Zambezi, also White Nile Uganda, Grand Canyon, USA and South Africa. Sean studied to be a journalist, he now documents Livingstone’s adrenaline fueled activities.

Dave "Choongo"

Dave "Choongo"

Trip Leader & River Board Guide

18 Seasons on the Zambezi.
Dave learnt to raft when he was 30 years old, still going strong.

FAQs

What insurance do I need?

All clients are covered by Specialty Emergency Services (S.E.S) through Safari Par Excellence; however, this only covers them for emergency evacuation in life threatening situations. It does not cover hospitalization and medication.

Travel and medical insurance is compulsory for all clients. Please ensure all clients bring the details of their insurance policy with them. Safari Par Excellence will not cover clients should they not have insurance for Grade V White Water Rafting.

WORLD NOMADS offer Grade V white-water rafting cover.

Is there an age limit?

The minimum age is 15 years old regardless of body size or swimming capability. The maximum age limit is dependent on the individual’s general state of health and physical fitness.

I've never been rafting before. Can I join a trip?

No previous rafting experience is required if good swimming skills are combined with a “GO FOR IT” attitude.  A reasonable level of fitness is required as clients must negotiate a steep path in and out of the gorge.  The walk out is 750 vertical feet up a gradient of 1 in 3, and a person of average fitness can manage this in approximately 20 minutes.

What should I wear?

Recommended dress for the day’s rafting is light outdoor sandals or trainers, shorts and t-shirt. A cap can also be worthwhile beneath the helmet. Clients should not take any valuables with them on the river. Valuables may be placed in a secure container and will be looked after by Safari Par Excellence for the duration of the day’s activity. On your return your valuables can be reclaimed. 

What about my camera / GOPRO?

SAFPAR has a team on the river who will take videos and photographs of your experience so you can relax and enjoy the rafting knowing we will take care of the all-important photos. We offer our clients FREE photos and a video of your rafting trip! You will receive a link via Dropbox after your rafting trip – please feel free to share on social media and tag us @safparzambia #safparzambia

Sounds great. Can I take my camera / GOPRO?

We recommend against this, it’s highly likely that the equipment will get wet / damaged or lost in the river! 

Are your rafts safe?

SAFPAR uses some of the finest equipment on the market to ensure that the trip is a safe and enjoyable one.  Rafts are purchased from Ark in South Africa and are tried, and tested river rafts required for the

Zambezi River. SAFPAR only uses ‘high flotation life jackets’ and Protec designed safety helmets

which are issued to clients before the day’s rafting.

Please tell me more about your guides and river safety?

SAFPAR is currently the only company on the Zambezi with a 100% guide certification under the International Rafting Federation.  All guides are fully trained professionals and hold valid advanced first aid certificates.

A comprehensive first aid kit and skid stretcher is carried on each trip.  Each client is required to sign the Safari Par Excellence White Water Rafting Indemnity Form prior to departure.  Each trip leader carries a SAT phone and is in radio contact with our base in Livingstone, Zambia and covered by S.E.S (Specialty Emergency Services) based in Livingstone.

Our guide team also hold American Heart Association Basic Life Support qualifications and we have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on every trip.

Whilst every precaution is taken, it is essential that clients are aware that there is a risk of injury associated with the activity of rafting on the Zambezi – the Zambezi is a Class V river – the highest level of commercially available rafting in the world. White water rafting is an extreme sport.