THIS doesn't look good. We're heading towards a towering fall of water that has Capsize written all over it. We paddle hard, digging deep into the swirling river.

But we hot the wave square on and the raft is swung skyward. Suddenly, I am paddling through thin air. And I'm no longer in the raft. Everyone else has manged to grab the safety rope, and I've been catapulted into the middle of a Class 5 rapid.

I surface, wide-eyed with fear. Thankfully, a support kayak appears and tows me back to the boat, where Tembo, our guide is there to greet me. ''Next time,'' he says, ''grab the rope.''

After thundering over the 5,604 ft-wide Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River froths and boils its way through a zig-zagging canyon of basalt rock, creating 25 rapids with ominous names, such as The Gnashing Jaws of Death.

Tembo has rafted the Zembsi river more than 3,000 times, but even he can't predict what river  will do.

Fifteen minutes later, we are all in - this time at the Class 5 Oblivion, where a mountainous wave flips the boat like a tiddlywink.

After three adrenaline-fuelled hours of paddling, we stumble wearily out of the rafts and into a cable car, which whisks in out of the canyon.

When you have just spent the morning battling The Gnashing Jaws of Death, there are few more welcome sights than the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Located on the Zambian side of the Zamabezi, just a few hundred feet upstream of the falls, it's a colonial-era haven of antique furnishings and impeccable service.

While Victoria Falls is not the highest nor widest-waterfall in the world, it is the largest sheet of  falling water .

In the rainy season, 3,000 tonnes of water per second come crashing down into in the 354 ft-deep canyon creating a swirling mist if  vapour that can be seen miles away.

The next morning, I stroll down to the falls, passing a series of  lookouts before getting buffeted by  spray-soaked winds on the disconcertingly narrow Knife Edge Bridge that vaults the river.

While being this close to the falls  is undeniably impressive, you're  you're almost too close to fully appreciate  its  scale and grandeur. Fortunately, there are other ways to marvel at this natural wonder.

The honor and serving of the latest research on this beautiful continent, Africa, continues.


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