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Safety &


We use state of art equipment, class 5 life jackets made in USA- universal and easy to adjust. You will feel comfortable during your rafting trip.

We use state of art equipment, class 5 life jackets made in USA- universal and easy to adjust. You will feel comfortable during your rafting trip.


Be assured that we don’t compromise on safety issues on the river. Our trip leaders are the most experienced guides around: all of them have 20 years and more rafting on the Mighty Zambezi and a remarkable experience on the international rafting scene that include Norway, Australia, USA.


The only company has youth and child class V life jackets, allowing us to take families with kids on the river.

A clear and thorough safety talk is one of the most important elements of any competent, professionally run river trip.

Please note that this safety talk is in english and if english is not your first language please use google translate to your own language so that you fully understand


by Philani Moyo, Shockwave Adventures Owner and Head Guide


A clear and concise paddle and safety talk is a very important component to any river trip. The experience and familiarity level of the group might determine how thorough the discussion will be, but all trips should have a safety talk in some form. It should never be assumed that every member of a paddling trip is fully knowledgeable about river safety procedures and paddling techniques. Even experienced groups of paddlers should, at a minimum, briefly discuss hand signals to be used and the general plan for the trip.

A well crafted paddle talk should cover topics regarding river safety, proper equipment use, the trip plan and how to paddle. The talk should be informative, but also fun. It should be a thorough enough to cover everything needed, but not so long that people stop listening. 15 to 20 minutes is perfect.

On a lot of trips, the safety talk is conducted at the river put-in. At Shockwave Adventures, we conduct ours at our office. This allows for guest to be focussed on the safety talk without the distraction of looking at the river and also to give our clients a chance to decide if they still want to do it or not. The trip leader will conduct the safety talk for each trip. This allows for the trip leader to properly evaluate the group and interject their own style and humor to the talk. Each guest is given a copy of the safety talk check-list so they can follow along, with one guest checking items off the list as they are covered by the trip leader to ensure all topics are covered. The following is an example of a safety talk and the topics that should be included.


Rafting on the Zambezi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A wild one-day run beneath one of the Seven Wonder of the World. We carry a wide range of whitewater activities to suit every person including children, beginner paddlers, advanced paddlers and senior rafters.


The Zambezi River is acclaimed as the “wildest one-day whitewater run in the World” highly regarded by white water rafting enthusiasts as one of the top ten paddling rivers on the planet!

You don’t need any experience to go white water rafting and you don’t need to be brilliant at swimming but you will need a certain level of fitness to be able to walk the steep path out of the gorge – a 750 foot climb which generally takes about 20 minutes.


The one-day low water trip is considered to be the best one-day white water experience available in the world.

Commercial rafting started in 1981 on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls. By 1996, some 50 000 people had been white water rafting at the Falls, furthermore numbers are increasing every year!


Zambezi River classification

The Zambezi is a high volume, pool drop river that mean after each and every rapid they is a calm pool and less exposed rocks. The river floods between mid February and April as a result huge volumes of water, more than four times the volume of the Colorado River floods over the Falls at its peak.



Introduction and equipment:

  • Greeting and introduction. 

  • Outline of the plan for the day, length of trip, weather and brief itinerary.

  • The importance of quality safety gear – we use self-bailing boats, class V lifejackets to give great floatation, splash jackets during cold days, and helmets to protect from rocks and flying paddles.

  • Lifejackets – Make sure they are tight so that when we pull up on the shoulder straps it stays in place. Wear your lifejacket at all times. Do not undo any of the buckles or straps.

  • Helmets - Wear your helmets from the time you are given them by your guides as the walk down is steep, rocky and sometimes slippery.

  • Paddles – Most of our trips we use paddles, Team of paddlers listens to the guides’ commands to get the boat downriver. This is a team activity, everyone will need to participate and paddle.


Paddling and commands:

  • holding a paddle – (very important to know as most injuries come from the paddles) Always have one hand on the t–grip (top of the paddle). The other hand when paddling will be as close to the blade as possible,  

  • forward paddle
    this gives better leverage. The more leverage you
    have, the less work you do.– Put the blade in the water in front of you and then bring it back.

  • back paddle – Put the blade in the water behind you and then bring it forward using your hip as a fulcrum point.

  • left turn – Left side back paddles, right side forward paddles

  • right turn –Right side back paddles, left side
    forward paddles.

  • stop –Stop paddling, have your paddle out of the water completely.

  • hold on or bump or lean-in – Get ready for a bump, brace yourself

  • Intensity of the guides’ voice – As things get more intense the guides voice reflects that, start paddling harder.

  • Importance of paddling – The motor of the boats is you and your paddle. If you turn off the motor then the boat has no steering, power or brakes. Paddle hard.


River safety and rescue:

  • Swimming – Even the Zambezi River is a high-volume river. When swimming, keep your feet downstream, float flat on your back and bounce off rocks with your feet in case you pushed towards rocks. You will end in a pole or before you get to the pole our safety kayaker will be with you to help. Keep your eyes open for a rope bag. If the water is deep, turn on your stomach and swim to the closest safe spot or any raft.

  • Flipping – Boat do flip over on this river. Rule # 1 - when the boat flips Do Not panic but hold your breath for some couple of seconds eventually you will resurface and look around if the boat is still close to you swim back to it the boats stay afloat whether right-side-up or upside-down but if not follow all the same swimming procedures; keep your feet downstream, float flat on your back 

  • Finding yourself underneath the boat – You can breath underneath but try to get out from there. Put your hands above your head and push on the boat, use them like you are walking with your hands (spender man) . Pick one direction and keep going.

  • Point positive – The guides may point while you are swimming, go that direction. We are pointing which way to go, not to look out for something. The faster they point, the faster you should go that way.

  • Rope bag –  All guides carry bag full of rope to tow you in if you get away from the boat. Keep your eyes open for ropes coming from your boat, other boats or shore. Swim to get the rope. Hold onto the rope, not the bag, and put it over your shoulder. We will tow you in backwards.

  • Rescue  paddles - If a swimmer is so close to you extend your T grip of a paddle and put them back to the boat, please don't use the blade as it will be slippery.

  • Other boats – Other boats are happy to pull you in, go to whomever is closest. If a kayaker is towing you, grab onto the rear tow strap, kick hard with your feet. They will tow you to shore. Do not grab any other part of their boat, paddle or them.

  • Pulling someone into the boat –Grab them by the shoulder straps of their lifejacket, brace your knees on the boat and fall backwards. Use your body weight not your arms. The person being pulled in should kick with their feet, just like getting out of a pool. If you still can’t get them in dunk them down into the water so that the buoyancy of the lifejacket can help you out (make sure you let them know what you are doing).


Other topics:

  • Water Fighting – Water fighting is allowed on warm days for willing parties. Don’t splash if someone doesn’t want to. Watch for flailing paddles, don’t splash or squirt someone in the face. Stay in your raft. Do not water fight above rapids.

  • Crocs on the river - the answer is Yes. Rafting has been going on for more than 40 years on this river and not even one person has been attacked by a croc as most of them go over the falls by a mistake when are very small and start growing inside the canyon but when high water comes which is January through May these crocs get pushed down so we are not worried at all about them.

  • Any medical condition that we should know about? Please let your guide know about any medical conditions or drugs that you are taking that may help us in an emergency. (please bring your medication that you feel you might need during rafting and give it to your guide to keep it safe inside the water proof case)

  • Litter – please do not throw any litter to the river

  • Get Your Gear – Follow guides to get your gear and we will help you to get perfect sizes

Can you still change your mind after the safety briefing?

   •  The answer is yes, and you will be given a full refund or you can still choose to go join the group on the second half


River Boarding 

Its a fun way to challenge those huge rapids with flippers and a boogie board. It hard working as you will face those 16t wave by your self and physically fitness  and experience is required to do these rapids. You will have our safety kayaker leading the way and you will have to follow him, hold on tight to your board and breath.

It's just you against the mighty Zambezi. Not all rapids are suitable to boogie board, so the day is combined with rafting to put you in the best surfing spots on this magnificent river.


Single Kayaking

We don't allow any one to go kayaking if you are not a class 5 rapid kayaker and if you lie we will find out.


Tandem kayaking

This is for people who don't mind swimming the Zambezi rapids as its great if you don't like to paddle alone or if your spouse or friend isn't comfortable paddling their own boat. Tandem boats can be lots of fun but physically demanding. Please note that we do have weight restriction on this tour, kindly drop us an email before booking it.

Alcohol or bad behavior - Shockwave will not tolerate or take anyone under the influence of alcohol or bad behavior such as racial discrimination 

From everything covered, just try to remember these things, listen to your guides, when you fall out get on your back legs up, hold your breath and do not panic.

Lets go and have fun

Public Liability


Both staff and passengers, whether in vehicle or on the river, are registered with MARS (Medical Air Rescue Services), which provides 24-hour road and air cover. In case of incident on the river, they are always on standby with ambulances and helicopters for fast evacuation to the nearest private hospital.


We are also members of the following associations:

  • Zimbabwe National Parks & Wildlife

  • Medical Air Rescue Service

  • Zimbabwe Tourism Authority

  • African River Craft

  • American Canoe Association

  • Jackson Kayaks

  • Italian Rafting Association


Our company is insured both nationally and internationally. Our activities are all covered by a ZAR20,000,000 Public Liability Insurance Policy with ZENITH South Africa





TEL ; +27 86 1937628

FAX: +27 21 9140293









André Opperman /

CELL :  +27 82 712 1624

OFFICE : +27 12 751 9433

FAX: 0866 514 875






  • REG NUMBER : 79 -090059-7202/99

  • POLICY NR: TLI311753

  • CLIENT NO: 256639

  • CONTACT DETAILS: +263 132843001 / 2



The Walk Down the Canyon: From Rapid 1 and from Rapid 11

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