Raft one of the most fabled stretches of whitewater in the world, visit Victoria Falls and be awed on an African Safari adventure in Hwange National Park.
Deep in the Batoka Gorge, bathed in the mist from legendary Victoria Falls, begins a journey full of pure exhilaration. The Zambezi River is home to some of the most notorious Class V whitewater in the world, and this “best of the best” adventure combines a 4-day Zambezi River rafting trip and tour of the legendary Victoria Falls with two days on safari, searching for Africa’s Big Five in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Head out on a game drive, or simply watch for elephants, giraffes, lions, and more from the comforts of a luxury tent camp situated in a prime wildlife viewing corridor adjacent to the park. This is truly a trip of a lifetime!
What to Expect
Itinerary & Map
Itinerary at a Glance
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Zambezi River rafting trip and Zimbabwe safari adventure is different depending upon the group, other trips in the area, and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
You will be met by an OARS representative at the Victoria Falls International Airport in Zimbabwe and provided transport to our safari camp—the Wallow Lodge. Alternatively, you can make arrangements for a representative to meet you in Livingstone, Zambia.
Upon arrival at the lodge, your trip leader will greet you for a welcome toast and trip briefing.
Settle into your private suite on the banks of the Masuwe River in the heart of Victoria Falls National Park. The evening is yours to relax and unwind after traveling across the world. (D)
Zambezi River Rafting
Today, we’ll head to the base of Victoria Falls for the start of our Zambezi River rafting adventure!
First, we hike down a steep trail to meet our waiting rafts. The Batoka Gorge provides a magnificent backdrop for our safety briefing before we don our high-float PFDs and practice our paddling techniques in the warm water of the river.
Our epic journey begins with “Morning Glory,” a real eye-opener, before one of the biggest commercially run rapids in the world, Class V “Stairway to Heaven.” This is a day of unparalleled fun, with rapids such as “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Midnight Diner,” which features one of the biggest waves you will see on any river. Later, we meet “The Gnashing Jaws Of Death,” a boisterous wave train.
We’ll make our way to the first riverside camp, complete with tents, dining area, and a spacious beach, and meet up with the rest of our gear and baggage boaters, who will join us for the remainder of the trip downstream.
Once settled in camp, your guides will prepare a feast upon which you can celebrate your first day on the river. Relax, watch the sun disappear behind the basalt cliffs, and enjoy your first night under the stars. (B, L, D)
Days 3 – 4
Zambezi River Rafting
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll load all the equipment into the rafts, and for the next two days, we’ll venture deeper into the Batoka Gorge, camping on beautiful sandy beaches each night.
As the canyon walls soar above us, the whitewater thrills continue with rapids like “Creamy White Buttocks” and “The Mother.” There’s nearly a rapid every mile on the upper stretch of the Zambezi, culminating with “Oblivion,” one of the most famous and exhilarating commercially-run rapids in the world. It isn’t the first wave that gets you or the second, but the third crashing wave that normally has all the photographers poised, ready to capture your big moment.
Whether you become a Zambezi River swim team member or not, the next few miles offer a bit of reprieve with a stretch of cruisy Class II-III whitewater.
Further downstream, the river begins to widen, but that doesn’t mean the rapids get any smaller. On this stretch of the Zambezi, we’ll conquer “Open and Closed Season” and Class V “Chimamba” before our big finale through “Upper Moemba,” one of two waterfalls we’ll encounter on our final day of whitewater. The group will portage over the second waterfall as the guides line the rafts down a 30-foot vertical cliff into an eddy below.
We’ll stop at a glorious beach camp for the night within sight of the magnificent Lower Moemba Falls. Here, we can sit back and enjoy the beauty of this majestic section of the river while recounting the day’s events. (B, L, D)
Victoria Falls Tour
This morning, we’ll float to the takeout and hike up to our shuttle vehicle, which will transfer us back to The Wallow Lodge. After enjoying a refreshing shower, we’ll rendezvous this afternoon for a guided tour of the mesmerizing Victoria Falls.
Tonight at dinner, we’ll recount the incredible experience of running Africa’s most famous stretch of whitewater. (B, L, D)
Days 6 – 7
African Safari Adventure in Hwange National Park
After breakfast on day 6, we’ll drive to Iganyana Tented Camp on a private reserve that borders Hwange National Park. While at Iganyana, you can choose to venture out on game drives or walking safaris with professional guides or simply lounge by the pool and watch for wildlife passing nearby. Elephants are a common sight at this majestic bush camp that’s perfectly situated along an open grass plain and a popular commute for wildlife traveling between watering holes. In fact, don’t be surprised when an elephant saunters up for its evening drink from the pool. (B, L, D)
Today, we’ll say goodbye to Hwange National Park, Victoria Falls, and the mighty Zambezi River. As we transfer to the airport for flights home or onward, we’ll reflect on this unique and adventurous part of the world and the remarkable people we’ve met along the way. (B)
Meeting Time & Place
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia
Arrive any time on day 1
Day 8 for flights departing after 1 PM
Dates & Prices
|October 4, 8, 15||$4,995|
Price per person based on double occupancy.
• Mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage
The Need-to-Know Info
Included in Your Trip Cost
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Pre- and post-trip accommodation and meals
- Alcoholic drinks at lodges
- Single supplement fee
- Zimbabwe Visitor’s Visa
- Airport taxes and fees
- Airport arrival & departure transfers on dates outside the itinerary
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan or mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage
On the Zambezi, guides use paddle rafts with oar assist, as well as paddle rafts to challenge some of the best whitewater in the world. Helmets are required on both.
Paddle rafts with oar assist are considered the most agile boat in whitewater. The guide powers the raft with two hefty oars on a rear-mounted frame, while the crew of 4 – 8 guests paddle up front for added horsepower.
Paddle rafts are the sportiest of crafts on the Zambezi. Everybody handles a paddle while the guide steers and gives directions from the rear. Paddling together is essential to finding the right run, and teamwork begets success.
The Zambezi River & Zimbabwe Safari includes 3 nights of riverside camping on the mighty Zambezi, as well as 4 nights of comfortable lodging in unique safari camps that are located in prime wildlife viewing locations.
The Wallow Lodge (Nights 1 & 5)
A short 20-minute drive from Victoria Falls, Africa’s adventure capital, The Wallow Lodge offers a luxury safari experience in the heart of Victoria Falls National Park. Each suite (designed to accommodate two guests) has en suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, air conditioning, and a private balcony overlooking the Masuwe River and surrounding wilderness. Guests can also enjoy shared areas, including a pool, dining area, and fully-stocked bar with local brand drinks.
Camp Life on the Zambezi (Nights 2 – 4)
After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Upon arrival, our first task is to unload the boats using a bag line of crew and passengers to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. At our first camp, the tents will already be set up, however, you will be responsible for setting up your tent on subsequent evenings.
While you’re settling into camp, the guides will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet, where privacy is assured.
While on the river, your guides will prepare all meals. You can expect hot breakfasts, delicious picnic lunches, and hearty and delicious dinners, all complete with fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. A selection of beer, wine, and spirits will be provided in camp on the river.
Iganyana Tented Camp (Nights 6 – 7)
Iganyana Tented Camp is a luxurious private tented bush camp on an exclusive wildlife concession bordering the famous Hwange National Park. Tucked into a teak forest, the camp has 15 spacious tents, all offering impressive game-viewing opportunities. Each tent features a king bed or two twin beds (2 additional single beds are available for families), an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet, and double vanities, and a mini-lounge. The shared spaces include a pool, large tented dining and living area, as well as a pizza oven and a fire pit for evening gatherings.
Meals & Dietary Restrictions
All meals from dinner on night 1 to breakfast on day 8 are included. We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we must consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
The Zambezi River is at its best during the dry season (between August and October) when water levels are dropping. To complement this, these months also represent the best weather window for trips to the region. Expect it to be hot during the day. Down in the Batoka Gorge, it often ranges from 95-105°F but can get even hotter. The water temperature is a comfortable 75°F and provides welcome relief from the heat. It does cool down a little in the evenings, but nothing worth worrying about. Generally, it’s quite comfortable just sleeping under the stars!
Average temperatures in Hwange National Park are similar, and days in the park are typically warm and breezy. Rain is always possible, especially late in October as the region transitions to the wet season.
Average Temperatures & Rainfall for Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Rainfall|
Average Temperatures & Rainfall for Hwange National Park:
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Rainfall|
The Zambezi River offers Class IV-V whitewater. We recommend people considering this trip be experienced, strong paddlers. You may find yourself swimming a Class IV-V rapid, which can be an overwhelming experience. Our guides may determine it’s in the group’s best interest to portage some rapids, depending on water levels and individual abilities.
Before booking your trip with OARS, there are a few important considerations we’d like you to know about.
Reservations and Deposits
An $1000/person non-refundable deposit is required at the time of reservation. Deposits may be made by check, money order, or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.
Canceling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception.
Cancellations and Refunds
Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more before the final payment due date.
If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.
|Date of Cancellation||Cancellation Fee|
|90 or more days before your trip||Deposit of $1000/person|
|89 to 0 days before your trip||100% of the trip price/person|
Requests to transfer a date will be treated as a cancellation, per the terms above.
OARS International and the outfitter R.O.A.M. Adventures, Inc. reserve the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.
If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.
Our Zambezi River trips are run by an affiliate company and arranged through O.A.R.S. International, Inc.
You May Also Like
Use our Compare tool to find your perfect Adventure.