Challenges, Inspiration

What went down on Day Four of the challenge – Hell, high water, and hippos

February 1, 2013

The intrepid team today completed day four of the gruelling BT Red Nose Challenges: Hell and High Water. The group picked up the pace this morning for their penultimate day on the river; leaving their camp early to take on their next set of terrifying rapids, amid dangerous wildlife.

Before setting off, the celebrities were briefed about the dangers of the local animals. They were told about hippos that chomp at boats to knock them over, and crocodiles that then line the shore, attacking rafters as they swim to safety. With the threat from wildlife growing greater by the day, and after Dara and Phillips’ drama earlier in the week, the guides have decided to take no chances and move the challengers out of their two-man kayaks to six-man rafts – safety in numbers.

Comedian and TV presenter Dara O’Briain said:

“We feel marginally safer about the hippos now because there are six of us; the odds of being eaten are slightly lower. Still, it’s a heavy boat and a really monotonous action; we only just got the rhythm of one boat and we change into another! The brief this morning was really scary, apparently if the hippos don’t get you, the crocodiles will chew the boat until it’s dragged down. But in the distance we can see the spray from Victoria Falls. We’re slowly inching towards it. It’s the most heartening sight we’ve seen.”

Radio 1’s Greg James said:

“It’s like when you’re little and your Mum and Dad go all serious – when they take it seriously, you take it seriously. At one point our guide Sven simply said, “If I say jump out of the boat and swim to the bank, you do it – very quickly!”

The animals aren’t the only challenge the celebrities faced today, the team were under serious pressure to move quickly in order to reach Victoria Falls by sunset. The challengers have to be off the river by nightfall to help avoid attack from hippos – who kill an average of 3000 people a year on the Zambezi. But for six first-time kayakers racing against the clock, it’s not been easy. The team are even eating on the move to catch up on lost time and avoid being stuck on the river in the dark.

Despite the hungry hippos, the team continue to push themselves to the limit as they travel closer to tomorrow’s finish line, and a total of 111km down the deadly Zambezi river.

Source – Red Nose Day website –

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