Chaz Powell: walking the Zambezi river

WE TALK to Chaz Powell about his challenge to walk the length of the Zambezi river.

Zambezi river

Chaz Powell is about to attempt to walk the 1,599-mile length of the Zambezi rier from its source to the sea.


CHAZ POWELL has always had a passion for adventure. After nearly a decade of travelling the world he returned to the UK to train to become an expedition leader.


On his recent trips to Zambia, Chaz became fascinated with the Zambezi river and the culture, history and people around it. His infatuation with the area led him to set himself the challenge to walk the length of the river, something locals have told him cannot be done.


In this exclusive interview we talk to Chaz about the potential dangers he will face on the hike as well as his passion for the outdoors and some of the other adventures he’s recently been on.


Tell us a little about your life and some of the outdoor pursuits and adventures you have previously been involved in?


I’m an adventurous chap, who from since I can remember has always been a bit of a free spirit. I travelled the world on and off for eight years until eventually deciding to come back to the UK to obtain my Mountain Leader award and start working in my dream job as an expedition leader.


This January I hitchhiked to the Northern most point of mainland Europe, while on a quest to view and admire the Northern Lights and all on a minuscule buget of £100.


In February I walked the length of the worlds steepest island, La Palma. It was a five-day trek which took me from jagged sea cliffs at its Northern point, hot humid jungle to the east, ice capped volcanoes at its centre and ash ladened paths to the South.


Mountain Leader award

Chaz Powell is an experienced expedition leader having gained his Mountain Leader award in the UK. photo Alex Frood


What inspired you to set yourself to challenge to walk the Zambezi and could you tell us more about what the walk will involve?


I have been coming to Zambia for many years now. During my time here I have become fascinated with the culture, wildlife and beautiful landscapes.


I started asking local people about the river two years ago now, and pondered about the possibility of walking the Zambezi’s length. The locals tell me its impossible and it can’t be done. My aim is to try and prove them wrong.


The river starts its journey in North West Zambia in the Kalene hills. It then enters Angola for 150 miles before entering back into Zambia and through a vast floodplain called the Barotse. Then it meets the Victoria falls and drops down into deep sided gorges all the way to the huge lake Kariba. Before finishing its jouney in Mozambique where it empties into the Indian ocean after 1,600 miles.


Zambezi river map

A map of the route Chaz will be taking along the Zambezi river.


What’s the region like where you will be walking and what do you expect to be some of the toughest tests you will face?


It gets hot and humid, I’ll be tackling various terrains, floodplains, gorges and national parks that are full of wild animals such as lions, elephants and buffalo. The river is also full of crocodiles and hippos. But I think one of my biggest dangers will be the mosquito and the possibility of contracting malaria.


Where will the money raised be going and how can our readers get behind you and donate?


I am raising money for The David shepherd Wildlife Foundation. They do amazing work to help battle wildlife crimes such as poaching and work with anti-poaching organisations throughout Afica. They also work to try and educate the youth about wildlife and conservation, which is something i’m hugely passionate about.


Readers can support my journey and help raise money for these causes by visiting and donating at www.justgiving.com/walkingthezambezi.


What have you been doing to prepare yourself for the challenge and in terms of fitness how hard have you had to work to be ready?


I have undertaken various smaller treks such as my La Palma hike. I’m always out walking and keeping fit. But its hard to prepare yourself for 1600 miles of hiking. I’m hoping my fitness will increase as I start walking. But I do feel mentally and physically ready.


Chaz Powell

Chaz aims to finish the Zambezi hike by January 2017 and no doubt he will be planning his next challenge soon after that.

photo Alex Frood


When will you finish the challenge and have you already thought ahead to future adventures and projects you may set yourself?


I’m aiming to try and finish my walk in January 2017 after five to six months of trekking. I just hope i’m not being too optimistic.


I do have other expeditions in mind, but for now i’m keeping them under wraps. Lets see how the Zambezi hike pans out first…

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