Thursday, 13 October 2011

Botswana and Zimbabwe Spring break part III: part B

White Water Rafting

I'm either screaming in every single picture or gasping to hold my breath

That pool down below is where it all started

Next day, as usual, we were up before the sun for white water rafting down the Zambezi River.  These rapids ranged from 3-5 level rapids-- 6 is the highest level.  In fact there was a level six but we weren’t allowed on it.  We got out and walked around the cliff ledge and our guide did it solo.  Anyways, we got dropped off at the falls and walked down a bunch of steps, around some cliff ledges, to the bottom of the falls.  It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  Our rafts were tethered at the bottom in a pool of water surrounded by rock walls reaching up to the sky.  Behind the pool were the waterfalls.  We couldn’t take our camera bc it would have gotten soaked but I desperately wish someone had taken a photo.  

AND I'm hooked

The guide taught us how to row together and what his orders meant then we were off to face the rapids.  Let me just say that white water rafting is one of my biggest fears ever.  This concept of putting ourselves in a position to get water thrown in your face is very foreign to me but it was one of the most fun, more accelerating things I’ve ever done.  Our first rapid, The ‘Boiling Pot’, had me white knuckling my oar, but once we were through I was hooked.  Our guide was amazing and got us through every rapid fairly well.  The rapids all had cool names like Stairway to Heaven, The Terminator, Oblivion, The Washing Machine, Judgment Day, Devils Toilet Bowl and Oblivion. On Stairway to Heaven the other raft in our party flipped so our raft went into rescue mission and collected three of the people who were thrown from their boat.  After this my raft thought we could take on the world so we decided to choose the hardest rapid when given the choice- bad idea.  At the ‘Gullivers Travels’ rapid our raft flipped and my face was used as leverage by someone’s shoe for them to get to the surface.  Luckily, when I reached the surface, gasping and crying for air I saw Liz laughing her insane face off.  She grabbed me and the guide pulled us both onto the raft quickly.

Guys this is really stupid

I was right we are all going to die

Yup, I was right- we're dead.

I'm underwater being kicked in the face- not having the best time here

All Hope is Lost.  we are all going to drown in Africa

After this incident I did not like rafting quite as much.  This was a level 5 and then next level five was called the ‘Three Twisted Sisters and the Mother’.  It’s said that if your kind to your mother it will be kind to you but if not you’ll be punished. It took forever to get to this rapid and I nearly cried with the anticipation.  I’m sure I enraged everyone with my cries of anxiety and pleas about us turning back.  Turns out my love for my own mum paid off and it was a fairly easy rapid to get through.  I knew I was my mum’s favorite!

Seriously the longest wait to get to our next level 5. I'm honestly shocked they didn't just throw me out of the boat- I was in quite a tizzy after the guide said we would probably flip again

definitely screaming here and probably begging everyone to turn back

Probably screaming for my mum

MADE IT! love it again!

 It was sad to end the white water rafting.  In the end I loved it.  At one point we were even allowed to jump out on a level 1 rapid and go through it with just our bodies in the water.  It was even sadder to end because we then had to climb 750 (literally) stairs up to the top of the gorge.  We were all exhausted and I’m surprised we all made it up to the top after conquering 19 rapids.  But lunch was delicious and beer was served so def worth it. 

everyone jumping out to swim down a level one rapid and rejoicing that we are all alive

we survived!! we even survived 750 stairs!

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