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ZAMBIA (eTN) - The beauty of Zambia’s great Zambezi River attracts tourists from all over the world for a myriad of water activities. This mighty river has carved the spectacular Victoria Falls and Batoka Gorge, yet its beginnings are as humble as a spring that bubbles up between the roots of a tree in the Mwinilunga District.

From the Mwinilunga District, it travels through Angola and back into Zambia at the Cholwezi Rapids where it is fed by various tributaries. The Zambezi then passes through flat, sandy country and then into the more rocky countryside of the Ngonye Falls and rapids. It then turns east to form the border between Zambia and Namibia and eventually joins the Chobe River to form a border with Botswana.

For the next 500 kilometers it serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, thundering over Victoria Falls and through the narrow, deep Batoka Gorge. From here it eventually flattens out at Gwembe Valley and flows into Kariba Dam. The damming of the river has created one of the world's largest artificial lakes – Lake Kariba - which itself has several islands. From the dam wall, the river winds along, flanked by the Lower Zambezi National Park on its Zambia side, and Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwe side. The Zambezi River then flows into Mozambique and finally out into the Indian Ocean.

Along the way of this magnificent river, there are water activities, as well as activities that are rooted in the various spots of spectacular energy along this waterway. If it is a combination of water and exhilaration that you are looking for, there is whitewater rafting through Batoka Gorge where 23 whitewater rapids churn along a route that has carved the great Zambezi, or you may choose to take on the raging rapids with an experienced kayaker in tandem kayaking. For those wanting a bit more control, there are high-speed, jet-propelled boats to take you down the rapids. And if you want to get right into it, up close and personal, there are mega thrills to be found in river boarding the Zambezi rapids armed with a body board, wet suit, life jacket, helmet, and fins. In this activity, you can charge the rapids and surf some of the world's biggest fresh water standing waves.

For those hoping to not get so wet, a steam train ride takes passengers over the Victoria Falls Bridge, and helicopter rides provide inspiring views of the falls from a vantage point like no other. But if you don’t mind getting just a little bit wet, then you can spend a day fishing, pitting your skills against the vivacious tiger fish and delicious bream, as well as various other fish on offer in the Zambezi River. Lake Tanganyika offers an annual fishing competition. And there are river safaris in quiet jet-propelled boats, as well as canoeing, that takes you to the remote parts of the upper Zambezi.

If you want to stay dry but still crave some heart-pumping action to go along with the raging Victoria Falls, consider abseiling and gorge swinging off the sheer cliff of Victoria Falls Gorge, or take a plunge off the Victoria Falls Bridge in the form of a 111-meter bungee jump.

And for those who don’t really want to get wet, but simply want to relax and have a good time, there are cruises on the upper Zambezi for breakfast, lunch, and sunsets – anything from a booze cruise to more luxurious, relaxed cruises. Boats pass the Mosi-oa-tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where riders can glimpse hippos, crocodiles, elephants, giraffe, and more while sipping a favorite libation.

Another great way to relax on the water is to spend a couple of days on a houseboat on Lake Kariba. While the Zimbabwe side of the lake has hundreds of houseboats wafting about, on the Zambia side, the lake is not crowded, providing a serene and idyllic spot to simply unwind. Here, one may drift along the bank or over to the many islands in a luxury cruiser with a crew to serve you in style, or you may choose to take your own food, a boat load of friends, and party or just hang out together.

On a continent often thought of as being comprised of lands that are dry and sparse, it is a wonderful delight to discover all the water activities to be found and enjoyed in Zambia along the great Zambezi River.

Africa Travel Magazine's "Great Cities of Africa” editions include Lusaka, Zambia and Livingstone, tourism capital and home of Victoria Falls, one of the Top 10 Wonders of the World

The Zambia Success Story ...
by Jerry W. Bird

What an amazing country! We made so many lasting friendships during our month-long stay in Zambia, we've become lifetime ambassadors, eager to spread the good news at every opportunity. Example: Africa Travel Magazine's Zambia Congress edition, with Victoria Falls on the front cover, is getting prime circulation in North America, Africa and beyond. Continued

Zambia adds Zest to your Real Africa Safari. Who wouldn't be awed by their first sight of Mosi- O-Tunya, the smoke that thunders, or by the denizens we encountered up close on, eye to eye on our Lower Zambezi canoe safari. Zambia is a fabulous place to get around, thanks to its regional airlines and highways system This meant we covered much more territory than expected and saw more of the sights. The country's elevation allows for a more pleasant climate than one would expect in a tropical country - all the more reason to plan an encore.

Chaminuks, Zambia
Town office has moved to the following address:
Plot 3515 C, Great East Road, Rhodespark - Opposite Northmead Shopping Mall
Lusaka, Zambia
Our new telephone numbers are as follows:
Tel: +260 211 254140 or  +260 211 254146
Fax: +260 211 254190
Our mobile numbers and email addresses remain the same.

Zambia's Proud History as an ATA member
Zambia hosted successful ATA events in 1981 and 1993 - however the Africa Travel Association's 28th International Congress in May, 2003 was the first "double-header," with Lusaka and Livingstone -Victoria Falls sharing the honors. There's something magical about any ATA event, and our Zambian friends added their own zest to the menu. We call it going for the gusto! For business, networking and professional presentation, the Trade Show at Lusaka's InterContinental Hotel was a sure winner. To catch some of the Congress action and attractions, see our magazine's 11 pages of photo archives plus our AWARDS page and comments by key participants and presenters.

To drum up advance interest in "The Real Africa," Zambia's National Tourist Office staged a USA Road Show, aided by ATA's Southern California, Atlanta, Washington and New York chapters. These venues helped ensure a large, enthusiastic attendance at the event's launch in Lusaka. At the Congress opening address, Zambia's President, Hon. Levy P. Mwanawsa (right) was upbeat about tourism's potential, echoed by the theme "Ethno Tourism: A key to sustainable development and job creation." In this positive vein, he stressed the importance of increasing tourist flow from North America to a wider range of African destinations. The President welcomed all ATA delegates at a sunset reception in the spacious gardens of Government House.

Photo (top): ATA delegates taking a time out to catch the spray at Victoria Falls.
Above: President greets delegates. Left: H.E. Martin Brennan, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia; Ms. Mira Berman, Executive Director, ATA; Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania, and ATA President; H.E. Levy P. Mwanawasa, President, Republic of Zambia.

H.E. Martin Brennan, United States Ambassador to Zambia hosted ATA delegates at the beautiful embassy complex in Lusaka. He too expressed confidence that, if managed properly, tourism can be a catalyst to better infrastructure development and conservation. He believes that tourism should be seen as more than just an income generator, but as a tool for transforming the world into a global village. Brennan was pleased to announce that the U.S. government will provide $9 million for natural resource management in Kafue National Park and Zambezi-Chobe area, including a program for training Africans in tourist services allocation because it does not only consume but generates resources and wealth." His Co-Chair, H.E. Prof. Mwelwa C. Musambachime, Zambia's permanent representative to the United Nations tackled the timely topics as moderator for "Community-based Tourism as a Driving Force," which focused on cross-ministerial and intergovernmental measures for fostering sustainable development.

ATA President Accentuates the Positive
Why does Africa continue to attract business and tourism despite negative influences, empty rumors empty chit chat from the media's talking heads? "Hosting the congress in Zambia is testimony to Africa's stability in the face of current global conflicts and the (tourism) industry's weakened situation, " said ATA President, Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, Minister of Tourism and Natural Resources for Tanzania. "We are all here because we are optimistic about the future of global travel, specifically to the continent of Africa. ATA member countries, representing most of Africa's major tourism destinations, are recognized by the more sophisticated traveler as among the world's most safe and stable countries to visit at this time," Meghji continued.

Photo : Hon. Meghji (above) with IIPT President Louis D'Amore. Below: Mira Berman, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, Hon. Zakia Meghji and Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, 1st Vice President, ATA.

Continuing on a high note, ATA Executive Director Mira Berman of New York spoke of industry partnerships with the World Tourism Organization, United States Tour Operators Association, International Ecotourism Society, American Society of Travel Agents, Corporate Council for Africa, Association of Retail Travel Agents, RETOSA (Southern Africa) and SATH (Handicapped Travelers). Berman touched on key ATA projects, such as Bermuda's African Diaspora Heritage Trail, and Africa's Second IIPT-ATA Peace through Tourism Conference in early December, 2003.

Zambia's Partnership in ATA, SADC and RETOSA
With RETOSA playing an active role in promoting tourism from North America to Southern Africa's 14 nations,
it is significant that the ATA Congress in Zambia set the stage for other key events. One of the most important venues of the year is the (SADC) Heads of State Summit in August. Africa Travel Magazine's SADC Summit edition features a 32-page Zambia Tourism insert featuring Congress highlights and photos. The Zambia supplement will be expanded in future issues as ATA strengthens its bonds with the tourism industry in Zambia, a staunch supporter since 1981.

Banking on Success
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) hosted the inaugural dinner, where the bank's Executive Manager J.H. de Botha, stated, "The DBSA recognizes the essential contribution tourism can make towards economic and social development and the alleviation of poverty. Our services to the sector can be grouped into five categories ... finance, agency services, consultancies, technical assistance, information and knowledge, with projects spread throughout South Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. We remain committed to tourism infrastructure development in support of improving the quality of life for the people of Southern Africa." Photo: Mira Berman, Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa, Mr. J.H. de Botha and Hon. Zakia Hamdani M

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