Kayaking in Zambia

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. What differentiates it from canoeing is the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a small narrow watercraft canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation. Most kayaks have closed decks, although sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are becoming very popular. Whether you are a first-timer or an experienced paddler, the Zambezi River, below Victoria Falls offers some of the best class 3 and 5 big water kayaking in the world. Warm water, big rapids and great play features are the trademarks of the Zambezi River.

There are various types of kayaks used in flat water and white water kayaking. The sizes and shapes differ depending on what type of water to be paddled on and also what the paddler would like to do. One of the essentials for kayaking is an off-set paddle where the paddle blades are tilted to help reduce wind resistance while the other blade is being used in the water. These differ in length and shape as well depending on the intended use, height of the paddler and usually, the paddler's preference. Kayaks should be equipped with one or more buoyancy aid, which creates air space that helps prevent a kayak from sinking in case it gets filled with water.

Safety gears for kayaking include:

  • A whistle
  • Throwing ropes
  • A diving knife
  • Comfortable water shoes
  • Suitable clothing

Kayaking is another way to experience the incredible power of the Zambezi River, this activity is carried out below the Victoria Falls. As the river drops 100 meters over the falls, it enters the Batoka Gorge, and the beginning of the kayaking section. The gorge itself varies from 140 metres to 250 metres deep, making for striking views to compliment the high level of raw excitement. Here, you will enjoy tandem kayaking in the gorge using Topolino Duo Kayaks. A qualified kayaker-guide sits in the back, piloting and manoeuvring the kayak through rapids, while you sit in front and assist with paddle power. Kayaking requires you to be a confident swimmer, ready to experience different levels of rapids.

Kayaking is an unbelievable experience, feel alive gliding down the gorge and admire Zambia’s abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. Experienced guides carry all the necessary group safety and equipment so you can just relax and have fun. Before getting on the water, you will receive full safety and paddling technique instructions. Operators always lead the way with a strong commitment to high safety standards and guides with incredible passion and extensive local knowledge of the area. Even if you have never held a paddle before, qualified instructors will teach and show you how to use a kayak; after that, all you have to do is climb in and set off on your exciting Zambian adventure. Kayaking trips are run in conjunction with a rafting trip for added safety and it will be up to you, and your personal guide, to ensure that you stay in the kayak or you could end up swimming the rest of the rapid! Kayaking is run all year round but the routes may vary slightly depending on water levels. There is a minimum age of 15 years old, a reasonable level of fitness is necessary and there is a weight limit of 90kg.