Kayak duo says keep Zimbabwe wild


(eTN) – In August 2009, Zimbabwean-born Warren Willis, and South African Francois Kruger, set out to kayak the Zambezi River from its source near Mwini Lunga in Northern Zambia to its delta at the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. The two men completed their epic 3,186 km-long journey in May 2010, having split it into two parts.

They set out from Mwini Lunga in August 2009 and by the end of September had passed through some very wild country in Angola, paddled through Zambia and Caprivi, reached the lip of the Victoria Falls, and rafted the Batoka Gorge before finally reaching Deka. Here they decided to conclude the first phase of their journey in time for Warren to return to the UK to attend the birth of his first child – a son, Benjamin, who was born in October.

In March 2010, the men returned to Deka to complete the grueling second part of their trip, with the Zambezi in full flood. They traversed Lake Kariba, the middle Zambezi Valley, Lake Cahora Bassa (with its terrifyingly dangerous gorge), passed the confluence of the Mazoe and Shire Rivers, paddled through crocodile-infested waters on the Lower Zambezi, and finally arrived at the Indian Ocean at Chinde, Mozambique, in May this year. They celebrated on the beach with champagne and cigars, which they had carried all the way with them!

Their trip down Africa’s fourth-longest river was an amazing feat and made them acutely aware of the vital importance of the Zambezi’s wild areas. The pair plan to use their experience to help generate funds for conserving these areas. Warren’s comments on the overall trip are revealing:

“The approximate 750 km that touches Zimbabwean soil is by far the wildest and least spoiled section of the river, and we have to do everything possible to keep it this way. The rest of the river has its moments and some stunning sections but there is an almost complete lack of wildlife especially noticeable in the heavily-populated areas”.

“It is time that people, such as myself, who have grown up on the river start to put a little something back, otherwise in all likelihood we will lose it to the pressures of unscrupulous hunters/over hunting, rumors of oil exploration by the Chinese, and general abuse. In the future, when my son asks me, “Where are all the buffalo, lion, etc?” I don’t want to have to tell him that we sat back and did nothing and/or shot them all.”

Read the story and see pictures of the duo’s amazing experience here: http://www.wildzambezi.com/safari-news-detail.cfm?News=79