from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS – HIGH inflows into the Zambezi River have halted the popular rafting activities.
The Rafting Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) confirmed the activities have been suspended for safety reasons.
Rising water levels have rendered rafting dangerous.
White water rafting activities are done from the foot of the waterfall in Victoria Falls on Rapid Number 1.
This is before the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Rafting ends on Rapid 24 downstream.
When water level increases, Rapids 1 to 10 become dangerous to sail in.
Skinner Ndlovu, RAZ Chairperson, said the level of water was increasing by approximately a centimetre daily.
Water level was 7,30cm at the beginning of the week.
“The level of water these days is rising by approximately one centimetre a day. We have since moved from Rapid 1 to start at Rapid 11,” Ndlovu said.
High water rafting is from Rapid 11 to Rapid 24.
It is done when water levels rise between 5,90cm and 14,50cm.
White water rafting activities are usually closed in March when water levels hit that level due to huge inflows from upstream.
The season reopens late June.
Zambezi River is at its fullest between March and August while between September and January the water will be low.
Some rapids are also dangerous during very low water levels.
There are dangers associated with high water rafting such as fast moving water, lots of turbulence, whirlpools and boils which make it difficult to sail longer.
Zambezi River originates in northern Zambia and flows into Angola, back to Zambia before passing through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique into the Indian Ocean.
It is Africa’s fourth-longest river.
A number of activities such as fishing, boat cruises, canoeing, white water rafting, boating and others take place along the river.
High adrenalin activities like bungee jumping, gorge swing, zip line and white water rafting are popular at the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Gorges are the major tourism draw cards alongside tour of the rainforest in the resort city.
Rafting was at its peak in the late 1990s when each of the tour operating companies handled an average of 250 clients a day.
Before COVID-19 in 2020, this dwindled to 50 per day.
– CAJ News