Potential rafters also need to be fairly fit to be able to climb the steep sides of the gorge to get to vehicle that will be waiting to take the group back to their hotel or lodge accommodation. The sides of the gorge are far too steep to allow the construction of roads down the river bank, however on the Zambian side a lift out of the gorge is in place at rapid number 23.
Before embarking on a rafting adventure the rafting operators will make enquiries as to the state of health of each participant, explain safety procedures and issue each person with an inflatable life jacket and helmet. White water rafting trips are run from both the Zimbabwean and Zambia sides of the river.
For safety reasons the rafting companies do not run white water rafting operations when the river is very high, floods usually occurring from the end of March to the end of April. The level of the water is dependent on the extent of rains in northern Zambia (where the Zambezi rises) and in Angola and the floodwater takes weeks, sometimes months, to reach the Falls. The river levels vary from year to year so it is best to check before embarking on a white water rafting trip.
For those who prefer to take to the air a number of companies offer sightseeing trips over the Falls by helicopter, microlight and occasionally small fixed wing aircraft.
Those more in favour of terrestrial activities, although no less thrilling, may want to try lunch on Livingstone Island and a swim in the “Devil’s Swimming Pool,” a shallow pool cut off from the edge of the Falls by a narrow wall of rock. The pool is only accessible from the Zambian side of the Falls at low water – usual from about September to November. The adventurous can lean on the rocks and peer into the chasm below but it is not an exercise for the fainthearted and should only be undertaken with extreme caution.
In addition to the experiences described above the Falls area also offers canoeing on the Zambezi, sundowners on the river, horse riding, fishing, elephant back safaris, day trips into the nearby Chobe National Park in neighbouring Botswana, tours of markets, tours of museums, elegant dining and high teas – something for every one.