Thu 11 Oct - Sat 20 Oct 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

What if I wish to do an activity in Livingstone?

Leadership

Climate

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Local language

Safety

Will I need to sign a waiver?

What are the main risks?

What happens if I fall ill, can’t keep up or there is an emergency?

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Zambezi River Challenge is graded as tough. During your River Challenge you will be:

  • Paddling over 100kms down the mighty Zambezi River
  • Travelling in canoes, kayaks and rafts
  • Paddle past hippos, crocodiles and elephants.
  • Camp under the stars on the Zambezi banks

Money

Currency: Zambia Kwacha (ZMK), which comes in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. US Dollars are commonly used for large purchases, and in hotels

Credit cards:  You should not depend on credit while in Zambia. Although ATMs can be found in most major cities, they are unreliable and will often only accept VISA. Maestro, American Express, and Mastercard are not widely accepted. Many restaurants will only accept payment in cash. In addition, you won’t have access to banks or ATMs once the challenge begins.

Travellers’ cheques: Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted in Zambia and should not be relied upon.

Spending money: You will not need large amounts of money during this trip, and other than at the start and end of the challenge, you will be in rural areas away from any foreign exchanges or banks. You will only need money for tips, any additional food & drink, gifts & souvenirs.

Tips: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per challenge-day, and this should be given to the challenge leader or charity rep at the end of the challenge who will distribute it among the support team, including guides, assistant guides, cooks, and porters.

Visa

You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your trip, and two blank pages for your visa and entry/exit stamps. Visa fees for British nationals are US$50 (single-entry), we recommend getting for your visa before you travel rather than on arrival to ensure you are accepted into the country. We will send out the information of how to apply for your visa 3 months before departure.

All air passengers must pay a departure tax of US$25 when leaving Zambia.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at:http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required of all travelers arriving from countries where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission, if traveling through South Africa, you will need to show on arrival and departure. Malaria is common throughout the country and you should consult your GP about recommended anti-malarials. Always take necessary precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes wearing long sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks at dawn and dusk, and plenty of insect repellent.

Flights

Flights depart London and arrive in Livingstone the next day. The flight time is approx. 14-17 hours including transit times. Your flight tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport. If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

 

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

We can run this trip with groups of 8-11 people, but there will be a small group supplement of £75. This is payable by your charity if you book under the minimum sponsorship or flexi options, and by yourself if you are a self-funder.

What if I wish to do an activity in Livingstone?

Livingstone is one of the world’s great adrenaline fuelled activity bases with many companies offering a never-ending supply of bungee jumps, micro-light flights, balloon trips and abseils, amongst others. On your final day in Livingstone you may have spare time that would allow you to participate in one of these types of activities. Anyone taking part in an activity other those specified in the itinerary do so at their own risk and Charity Challenge are not responsible for any injuries or accidents resulting from these activities.

Leadership

Charity Challenge employ a number of first aid and rescue qualified challenge leaders all of whom will speak fluent English and are experienced in kayaking and rafting on the Zambezi. There will be at least 1 guide for each 8 participants on the river as well as wildlife rangers who are there for your added safety. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

The climate is tropical, and humid. June is the beginning of the dry season which lasts up to December when the rains begin to fall, usually characterised by heavy downpours in the evenings. You can expect temperatures year round of 28 - 33C, dropping to around 23C in the evenings. Light waterproofs as a precaution should be taken. From late January to June is the wet season and we do not operate these trips at this time.

Luggage allowance and valuables

Try to keep luggage to an absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your kit list. Your rucksack/holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed the maximum weight limit of the airline you are flying with (usually 20kg, however do check this with the airline or contact our flights team if in doubt). Each day, your personal kit will be transported to the next stop or campsite by support vehicles. Whilst on the river, your dry bags will be stored in the front and back sections of your kayaks with your daily needs such as sun cream, lunch, water and camera etc.

We will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions and at the hotel there is a safe deposit box in each room. The general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Typical day

As described in the itinerary each day is quite different in terms of modes of transport but most days will begin around sunrise (7am). You will help to get breakfast ready and pack up the tents and your bags etc. Once the camp has been packed up and loaded on to the vehicle, you will get a safety briefing on the activity to follow, and any necessary training. On the water, you will paddle stopping whenever needed for toilet breaks, snack stops, lunch etc (which can also be taken on the move on the water if time is short). During the day you should carry only what is strictly necessary in a daypack, as too much will weigh you down and make the journey tougher. There will be support vehicles to carry your main luggage from camp to camp. The day is ruled by the sun as everyone needs to be off the water within an hour of sunset for safety reasons. So we will aim to get in to camp with a few hours of sunlight to enable camp to be erected in the comfort of daylight! Once the camp is set up and food is prepared, the evenings are relaxed around a camp fire.  

White water rafting is an exhilarating sport and you will be guided by a fully qualified white water guide. You will be required to paddle at certain stages of your day rafting. It is recommended that participants gain some experience of the likely challenge ahead by taking a white water rafting trip in the UK. Many outdoor centres now offer white water rafting taster sessions.

If you have any concerns about the training requirements for this challenge then please contact us challenges@charitychallenge.com.

Accommodation

We will use a comfortable 3 star hotel near the town of Livingstone on the banks of the Zambezi for the start and end of your challenge. You will have a twin en suite room.  On all other nights, you will be wild camping on the banks of the river. We use two-person tents and you will be expected to erect your own tents yourselves each night on arrival in camp.  A short drop toilet will need to be dug for use by the whole group. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Food & Drink

During the day a typical packed lunch provided might consist of fruit juice, fruit, crisps and a sandwich. The evening meals in camp may consist of beef stroganoff, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken curry, rice, potatoes and vegetables. Treated water will be provided throughout. You should have indicated on your registration form prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies and we will do our best to accommodate these. If you haven't filled this part of the form, or if these requirements should change prior to departure, please let us know. We cannot cater to all tastes so anyone with very specific requirements should consider bringing some foods to supplement their meals.

Clothing and equipment

No specialist kit is required for the kayaking. All safety equipment will be provided. Participants may wish to wear swimming costumes underneath quick drying clothing whilst on the water. However, as swimming with hippos is not recommended we do everything we can to make sure you stay out of the water! A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoor Hire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

The lodge has en-suite regular western toilets and hot running water. During the camping whilst on the river, you will use a short drop toilet (with screen for privacy) and will be provided with a bowl of warm water for washing. The camps are not permanent camps so facilities are minimal.

Phone and WiFi

You will have intermittent phone signal

Local language

In a lot of the main towns in Zambia the locals use English as the main language (it is the official language in Zambia). However in the villages and more remote locations it is rarer to find people speaking in English. Learning a few simple words in the local dialect Tokaleya will make a big difference to the locals who will really appreciate it.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Zambezi River Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • It is a very humid and remote environment.
  • Long exerting days.
  • Water based activities.

Will I need to sign a waiver?

All accommodation and service providers in Zambia use waivers as a regular part of the business. You will therefore be asked to sign a waiver during this challenge. Please note that this does not affect your contract with Charity Challenge or our liability as detailed in the “our liability” clause of our bookings terms. Any additional services you book independently whilst in Zambia are likely to come with a waiver of liability.

What are the main risks?

This challenge takes place, like all our challenges, in a remote wildness environment which you will be unfamiliar with and so the risks are greater here than they would be at home.

On this challenge, the main risks are posed by the heat and humidity combined with the tough, long days where you will be exerting yourself for long periods of time which can lead to heat exhaustion and/or sun stroke if you don’t look after yourself and keep hydrated. You will be provided with plenty of water to avoid this.

In addition, the Zambezi is teaming with dangerous wildlife and insects, such as crocodiles, hippos, elephants, snakes, mosquitos etc. and while every care is taken to avoid them, there nonetheless remains a risk of encountering one of them. Much of the wildlife is below the waters and you cannot see them so a great deal of attention is placed on being alert and staying away from parts of the river the animals are known to prefer (i.e. hippos prefer to be in deeper water so we stay close to the shallows).

Your group will be accompanied by experienced and trained leaders and guides as well as armed Zambian Wildlife Authority rangers who will be close by.

The Batoka gorge contains the fastest and most exhilarating white water rapids in the world and is by definition a risky activity. However, the risks here are very well managed with plenty of safety kayakers on hand and thousands of people raft these waters every year.

Finally, due to the remoteness of the environment, rescue and medical facilities are not up to the standards you could expect in the UK and evacuation times longer so anyone signing up for the challenge is asked to take these factors into account. There is a private clinic and hospital in Livingstone (never more than 90mins away) and we will subscribe every participant to a private emergency service which provides both road and air ambulance in the case of an emergency.

If you have any concerns about this or need to declare any pre-existing condition to us, please contact us at challenges@charitychallenge.com

What happens if I fall ill, can’t keep up or there is an emergency?

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s abilities. This is allowed for. You will always be with another member of the group or the crew and there will always be a staff member at the back of the group to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. Back up support in the form of safety kayakers and a vehicle on land will never be far away and can be called in the event of an emergency. Contact will be maintained between guides and the support teams where possible.

We will carry a first aid kit although you should also bring your own personal medical kit for any minor ailments.

Training

This expedition is graded ‘tough’. Anyone who leads an active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be capable of completing the challenge, providing they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to the challenge. See the Fitness Training notes in your account area for further advice.

Basic kayaking training will be performed in Zambia before you begin your challenge. However, it is recommended that participants undertake a basic kayaking course if they have no previous experience of canoeing/kayaking. The Go Canoeing website offers information to help you find an introductory course (http://www.gocanoeing.org.uk/go/index.cfm/hints-tips/how-do-i-start-canoeing/)

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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