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#6 The Batoka Gorge Experience

The next four days were filled with whitewater facials, hearty laughs, and starry sky's. As we paddled our way down river, I was made aware of a serious issue that the Batoka Gorge faces. The D word. DAM. The Zambia and Zimbabwe government are moving forward with plans to build a Batoka Gorge Dam not far downstream from Victoria Falls. This would completely wipe out the whitewater section that I was so fortunate to paddle. By building a dam, the tourism industry surrounding Victoria Falls will severely drop. I knew that I was paddling in a special place, but what I did not realize is that not many more people are going to be able to paddle this river.

My experience down in the Batoka gorge is one I will remember for the rest of my life. The Zambezi is probably the biggest river I will run, yet for how HUGE it is, it's extremely forgiving. Though swims and flips happen often, you are swimming in warm water. The river is high volume so you don't have to worry about getting pinned or siphoned out. The Nyaminyami was surely watching over me for 5 days, and hopefully she continues to protect that amazing stretch of water.

Our goodbye to the Zambezi was a fashionable one. A helicopeter picked us up and flew us out to our lodge. This was my first time in a helicopter, and the others in the group compared my smile to a child in a candy store. The chopper flew us right over Victoria Falls, and the views were spectacular.

Me and Diego (the most incredible guide)

Looking out over the Zambezi with a G and T in hand - nothing better!

As we parted ways with our newly formed river family, I couldn't help but feel sad. The Zambezi river is no longer a place that I can have hopes of running again because of the dam. I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend 5 days on the river, I just hope I can spend another 5 more.
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