A hike down to Rapid #10

Right after Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River runs through a deep and narrow gorge. Many people go white-water rafting down this gorge, where there are 23 rapids, many of which are class 4 and 5, and a few class 6. (The rafts portage around the class 6 rapids as they are too dangerous.)

On our last full day in Livingstone, we hiked down into the gorge where we were told there was a great swimming hole of sorts right after Rapid #10. Some people from Overland Missions had hiked there before, so they knew where to go and joined us. Rapid #10 is also where some of the rafting expeditions begin, so the path into the gorge has been improved with the construction of wooden ‘ladders’ at the steepest points.

At the top of the gorge
at the top of the gorge

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the swimming hole (lower left) is only accessible during dry season - once the river reaches its maximum level, it covers that entire area

the swimming hole (lower left) is only accessible during dry season – once the river reaches its maximum level, it covers that entire area

Our descent
we begin our descent

Ladder? Stairs? Not really either, or maybe both.

ladder? stairs? not really either, or maybe both.

It was certainly easier than sliding down loose dirt and pebbles…

it was certainly easier than sliding down loose dirt and pebbles...

…but it still wasn’t easy.

... but still a challenge

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Needless to say, our quads were SORE the next day

needless to say, our quads were SORE the next day

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At the bottom.

if you look closely, you can see two from our group in the lower left corner

if you look closely, you can see two from our group in the lower left corner

looking towards rapid #10

looking towards rapid #10

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The swimming hole was green from algae, but as it was surprisingly clear, the group decided it was still swimmable.

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Steve and I found a spot along the river to swim in.

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We startled a really interesting lizard, and Steve managed to get some great closeups of it.

we startled a really interesting lizard, and Steve managed to get some great closeups of it

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Also, for you geology enthusiasts out there, the black rock surrounding the swimming hole held a wealth of geodes.

for you geology nerds out there, this black rock held a wealth of geodes.

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i probably could have spent the entire day admiring their various shapes and sizes.

I probably could have spent the entire day admiring their various shapes and sizes. I was hoping to find one with amethyst crystals in it, since Zambia does mine some amethyst. But I didn’t. Just white quartz, I think.

We started back up not long after lunch, but I only snapped two photos of our ascent. It was too grueling to take more. It didn’t make me feel better that we were quickly passed by two Zambian fishermen, who I’m pretty sure didn’t stop to rest the entire climb. Amazing.

starting the climb back up. i didn't have any energy to take photos of our ascent.

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