This is one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world, both for experienced rafters and newbies. Rafting can be done on either side of the Zambezi River, so it doesn't matter what side of the border you're on – you’ll find Grade 5 rapids. Expect very long rides with huge drops and big kicks; it's not for the faint-hearted.
The best time for rafting is between July and mid-February (low water season); peak season is around August to October. Day trips run between rapids 1 and 21 (to rapid 25 on the Zambian side), covering a distance of around 25km.
The river fills up between mid-February and July (high water season), when day trips move downstream from rapids 11 to 25, covering a distance of around 18km. Only half-day trips are offered during this time. The river will usually close for its ‘off season’ around April or May, depending on the rain pattern for the year.
Trips are cheaper on the Zimbabwe side, costing about US$120 (versus US$160 in Zambia), but Zambia has the benefit of the cable car (and a few additional rapids) as opposed to the steep climb out on the Zimbabwe side.
Overnight and multiday jaunts can also be arranged.
An add-on activity to rafting is riverboarding, which is basically lying on a boogie board and careering down the rapids. A package including rafting for a half/full day is US$170/190. Otherwise get in touch with Bundu Adventures about its hydrospeed surfing trips, where you can ride rapid number 2 on an Anvil board for US$70 for three hours.