Rafting the Zambezi and Boma

Officially my safari finished after breakfast at 8am, but I was up and out extra early for white water rafting. By happy coincidence, I had booked another two nights in Victoria Falls and everyone else who was carrying on south was also staying another two nights!

Three of us were picked up from camp and taken to the Lookout in Victoria Falls National Park for our white water rafting briefing. Having decided before we got to the falls that I would do an ‘adrenaline’ activity, the Zambezi is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to raft so it was an easy choice. There was the option of having the guide doing all the work in the centre of an oar boat, or the guide at the back of a paddle boat with everyone paddling through the rapids – which of course is the whole point!

Driving to the start of the pathway at the top of the gorge, we picked up a wetsuit top, life jacket, helmet and paddle. Once at the bottom, eight of us including our guide hopped into an inflatable raft and sat on the sides, practising manoeuvres together before beginning on rapid number 11. Water levels were high following fresh inflow from the Angola and Zambia catchment areas, so rapids 11 – 23 were the only ones on offer.

We set off downstream into rapids that were classed between 1 and 5 in severity, paddling through crashing waves and around whirlpools, then chilling a bit on the calm ride between rapids.

Rafting

We managed not to capsize, but other boats did so our guide got us to jump in on the lower classes for the experience; the strong current and cool water made it fun and invigorating. I was expecting it to be more full-on with the rapids on top of each other, although as a novice I should probably be grateful I did have time to catch my breath!

It seemed to be over far too quickly, and we began the hot and hard trek back up the steep gorge for lunch and a cool can of drink. Spare dry clothes aren’t needed – it was so warm I was virtually 100% dry by the time I got back to camp.

In the evening seven of us went to eat dinner at The Boma, an increasingly popular restaurant in Victoria Falls. Upon entering we were dressed for dinner in chitenges, a patterned wrap draped around us and tied at the shoulder. Half open to the skies, the fully booked restaurant had a beautiful, traditional African décor and we knew we were in for a real experience.

Offered a choice of three starters, including Guinea Fowl and Crocodile, I chose the baby Croc tail served with a zesty sauce which was really delicious. The restaurant is a giant buffet with all kinds of meat, breads, soup, veggies, salads and desserts as well as traditional Zimbabwean cuisine.

interior of boma restaurant

Feeling adventurous from the off, I went straight to the Chef’s table and ate a Mopani worm, one of the local delicacies. It was completely black, a little chewy with a slight crunch and reminded me of eating a very burnt sausage… Yummy!

mopani worm

Served on cast iron plates, I tried the most exotic meats; Kudu stew, Eland meatballs and Boma’s renowned Warthog steak – cooked in lovely spices and with a chicken-like texture, it was my absolute favourite.

I couldn’t resist a mini cauldron emblazoned with ‘Boma’ on one side, filled with a thick, rich and sweet tomato soup from the campfire – or the dessert bar. It was heaven and after a month of camp meals consisting heavily of cabbage, I overloaded a dessert bowl with chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, pastries and fairy cakes! Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t manage to go up again for any of the fruits or crème brûlée.

After eating, men dressed in African performance costume holding large traditional drums gathered in the centre of the restaurant, treating us to some amazing drumming which we just loved. Audience members were given drums and instructed to play along with the band and I had great fun following their beats! After having an audience play off between one side of the restaurant and the other, everyone got the chance to go and dance with the performers! It was truly fantastic and to top it off, a guy had come to our table and painted our faces with African animals including an Eagle, Warthog and Zebra. Some might find it pricier than other nights out, but it is totally worth every penny!

dancing at Boma

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