The inaugural “Zambezi White Water Festival” kicked off this past weekend. A celebration of the Zambezi River and the rafting community that call the banks of the Zambezi River home. The competition side saw six, six man amateur rafting teams battling it out to be the “Champions of the Zambezi”.

The event took place over three days, hosted at the “Victoria Falls Waterfront” by Safari-Par-Excellence. Designed to be a celebration of the river itself and the white water community lifestyle; the festivities included DJ’s and local and regional bands; “DJ Claudous”,”Shyman”, “Black Mamba Man” and band “Chicken Bus” all made it an event to be remembered for the spectators.

The “Victoria Falls Waterfront” also hosted a kiddies play area, craft area and food stands, selling a variety of local and international foods ranging from crocodile skewers to American styled burger “Sliders”.

The Livingstone community pulled together and we had an epic weekend. Our local beer producer who produce a bottled beer called “Mosi” named after the Victoria Falls known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (The Smoke that Thunders) sponsored a large part of the festivities.

On the river the teams competed in 3 main events based on time; with each second used representing a point, least points wins. The competitors had a practice day on the Friday to get to grips with the formula of the race and too gel with their local guides.

On the Saturday morning the first event was a timed individual sprint between rapids # 1 and # 4, this saw teams taking on some challenging lines and one flip from “The Big, the bad and the ugly” a Zimbabwean team from Bulawayo. The second event was a mass start race from above rapid #6, this saw teams careening into rapid #6 with some interesting results. Team “Montana” a group of traveling American’s with a token Welshman won this event by a long margin. The final component of the competition was a slalom race between rapids 12A and Rapid 13, this event saw teams cris-crossing the river to reach six attainment areas. Additionally teams were judged on clean lines at rapid #5, #7 and #11, where a dropped paddle or swimmer, or flip resulted in penalty points. Despite a carnage ridden practice day in Rapid # 7 the race day saw all teams having clean lines and no swimmers.

As an additional event the “Zambezi White Water Festival” hosted the “Surf and Turf” in rapid #18, known for being a big retentive flipping hole the event saw the competitors attempting to contrive the biggest most spectacular flip or surf in this infamous rapid.

Despite a very close set of times the Team “Montana with a token welshman” took the first prize a “Flight of Angels” trip for the entire team proudly sponsored by “Batoka Sky”. Second place was taken by Team “Protea/bushtracks who won seven bungee jumps sponsored by “Shearwater Bungee”. The third prize went to the elegantly named “Zambezi Seamen” who won a trip for seven with “Zambezi Expeditions”.

Team “Montana with a token Welshman” also took the prize in the “Surf and Turf” with a spectacular performance, winning themselves a buffet breakfast sponsored by “Avani Hotel”.
All in all a great event and stay tuned for next year! editor 5