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Old 05-30-2006   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
Greetings From Zambia

Hey all. This is my yearly shout out to all the boating folks there in Colo. Sounds like you're having another excellent season! I spent some time again this fall on the mighty Zambezi. I've now paddled 1-25 (the entire Batoka Gorge), with the exception of number 9. Hopefully I'll get down to Moemba Falls next year, but it takes three days to do so by raft/kayak. Oddly enough, the river was actually closed to any recreational use this spring. We had an extremely wet rainy season which, unlike the case in your neck of the world, is not good. The Zambezi is best at low water. High Volume (100,000 cfs) just makes the rapids disappear and the hydralics suicidal.

Anyway, reading up on the various posts makes me long for those days hanging out with all of you. Unfortunately/fortunately, I won't be able to make a trip this summer. Melissa is expecting twins in July and the window we have in the US will be spent in Connecticut.

So cheers to all. Be safe....

If any of you is interested in a trip to Africa, Sven at is the man to contact. He'll set you up with everything you need.


PS - Anyone know of any worthy kayaking destinations in Connecticut? I have a playboat stashed in my in-laws garage.

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Old 05-30-2006   #2
Force's Avatar
Bham, Washington
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 463
wow jimmy, thats great news. best of luck with the twins how much longer are you guys going to be in Africa?

i have no idea about boating in CT.

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Old 05-30-2006   #3
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
Thanks. We signed on for another year, so we are here until this time 2007 at least. Beyond that, it's year by year. I love it here. Culture is incredible. Zambians are by far the chillest people, country-wide, that I have ever met. However, we miss the accessibility we had in CO to our hobbies. The Zambezi is seven long hours away in less than ideal travel conditions. Not exactly a "local" playspot. I have only been able to get there three times now in the past two years. I have also been looking pretty hard for climbing and bouldering spots to develop, but the most promising rock I've found so far is in the middle of Kafue National Park and you need a scout with an enormous gun to even look around the boulders. Last time I was there, the guides were reluctant to take me around because a man had been mauled by an elephant a week earlier. Rocks are out there, but finding quality stone is tough. Most of the water beyond the Batoka section of the Zambezi is croc and/or hippo infested (Ironically, the section of the zambezi which we kayak is "too violent" for hippos and crocodiles). We've travelled to satisfy our appetites (S. Africa, Malawi, Kenya, N. Zealand, Thailand), but I am not sure how much longer we can live without rock or water nearby.

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Old 05-30-2006   #4
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 56
Jimmy, where are you in Zambia? I was a guide on the Zambezi in 91 and then the Operations Manager/Guide for Sobek over there in 92 and 93. Finally did two more seasons of guiding multi-day trips there in 94 and 95. When I was there LIvingstone was NOT a tourist town and all the tourists stayed on the Zimbabwe side. We were the only Zambian raft company at the time, and our clients did not stay on the Zam side at all. What's it like now? I miss that place. What do you do over there? Have you been to S. Luangwa? Awesome.
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Old 05-30-2006   #5
kayakArkansas's Avatar
In this bullshit three-ring circus sideshow of freaks, Arkansas
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 194
Send a message via AIM to kayakArkansas

I don't know of much boating in CT right off the top of my head, however there is plenty from what I've heard. Sign up on the message board at (Northeast Paddlers Message Board) and there are tons of super chill people who live in CT that will point you in the right direction.

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Old 05-30-2006   #6
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
I am a high school English teacher in Lusaka. Nice to meet/hear from you. You would likely have a hard time believing the changes that have occurred here. As you probably know, Robert Mugabe has completely f...ed Zim. The fortunate irony is that Zambia now serves as the Zambezi river industry hub. I haven't crossed the border at this location so I can't speak of Zimbabwe, but Livingstone is thriving, albeit in a raw African way. Multiple large rafting companies run most of the year, and Sven, through is running large kayaking parties down all sections of the river on a grand scale. The Boiling Pot is the primary put-in these days. I hook up with a new group of world class boaters every time I go.

As for the rest of Zambia...I spend all my teaching vacations somewhere new, either mountain biking, scouting for potential climbing, or photographing the wildlife. For the latter, South Luangwe is by far my favorite destination. I am not sure if you spent much time in the Northern Province, but I discovered an absolute gem of a camp up there last weekend. I had heard of 300ft granite domes and thus planned to check it out during a four day weekend. The rock ended up being both choss and hard to approach due to a combination of tall grass and more poisonous snakes than I like to think about (including black mambas), but the camp, Mutinondo Wilderness Camp, Mpeka, is surrounded by miles and miles of single-track hiking/mountain biking trails. We rode and rode and rode on some of the most georgeous terrain anywhere with a backdrop that rivals even some of CO's finest vistas.

Zambia's doing relatively well these days, hopeful at least. It hasn't lost its African charm, nor its hardship, especially in the rural areas, but things are getting better for growing numbers of people.

If you or anyone else out there wants to visit (revisit), I can give you a place to stay while in Lusaka, point you in the right direction to paddle or view game or whatever, and depending on the dates, perhaps join you.
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Old 05-30-2006   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
Thanks Zach. I will do just that. Cheers.
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Old 05-30-2006   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 157
Jimmy, we are missing you on the Poudre. The upper stuff has been good and we have been holding near 4ft for about two weeks now. Hopefully two more.
BTO is pretty fun, just wishing you still lived below the takeout.
Send more pics, the last ones you sent me were amazing.

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Old 05-30-2006   #9
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 56
Muli bwanji Jimmy (Of the many languages/dialects there the only I learned a bit of was Nyanja---which I have now forgotten completely). When I lived in Livingstone we had to cross to Zim to get a good meal and to buy most of our groceries. We had to smuggle bread across the border because Vic Falls didn't produce enough to allow export, and Zambia usually had none. Lusaka was a bit rough back then too.

I didn't spend much time in the Northern Province but it sounds great. I would love to do some mountain biking there. We actually went to Hwange in Zim on our long weekends, or Chobe in Botswana if we could afford it (dirtbag river guides). I did get to Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania while there, and did a raft trip in Ethiopia a couple years after I left Zambia.

I may take you up on a visit sometime. Thanks for the offer.
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Old 05-30-2006   #10
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9
JJ - Perhaps you should join me for a couple weeks next fall. Last I heard, the slambezi's holding up at around 80-90 feet

I miss you guys as well, especially this time of year.

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