As we detailed earlier this month on the Born Out There blog, First Ascent athlete, expedition kayaker and pro photographer Chris Korbulic recently returned from the heart of Africa while filming for the third season of Kaiak with fellow First Ascent traveller Ben Stookesberry. In addition to their inspiring and perspective-shifting trip to Zimbabwe, the pair also explored the rivers and culture of neighboring Zambia. As we’ve come to expect from Korbulic, his incredible images alone tell a powerful story of a faraway place. Below are his selects with the captions that best encapsulate his time on the continent. -EB Editor
Images and captions by Chris Korbulic
Kafue Camp. We had just run the biggest whitewater on the Kafue, so had a great day. We had been having truck problems and left it to get repaired, so it was a great surprise when it pulled in that night, ready to go for the rest of the trip!
Branches of the Kafue. With a ton of whitewater on the Kafue, this was a calm moment of relief after safely coming through a big rapid. We were only about halfway down and had a lot of big ones coming.
Merry Christmas. We didn’t really give ourselves the best Christmas present—camp next to a big, long pool where crocs could be a major problem. The next morning we would put in and paddle the pool, knowing that as we put ourselves in that place, it was our responsibility to endure the knowledge of threats we could neither see, understand, nor at that point do anything about. That afternoon, we completed the first descent of the Wonder Gorge.
Lunsemfwa River Miners. In the wilderness for different reasons, these miners near the Lunsemfwa River take advantage of recently found gold and rising gold prices. The low water level made gold mining possible but sent us looking elsewhere.
Lumangwe Falls at Night. This falls was on our minds for a while, but when we got there it just wasn’t right. About 95 percent landed on rocks, and the other part had a really tough lip before a 30-meter falls. We ghost-boated our extra kayak off it three times and the results were worse each time, with the kayak disappearing behind the falls for 20 hours on it’s final attempt.
We found GOLD downstream! Ben running the committing middle line of Upper Kabweluma Falls. We had tried to scout this falls the day before by driving as close as possible, but we got a flat tire and had to stop the truck about a mile away. I couldn’t wait to see it and ran the track to the falls and it was perfect. But the run was a little creepy with night falling in the forest. The next day Ben and Pedro ran the lower falls on only my nighttime beta from the night before.
Another clear night in the Kalungwishi watershed. So many nights spent in the bush by the big truck, it started to feel like home.
Ben Stookesberry running Kundawika Falls. Mopani bees on the other side of the river made it almost unbearable to stand and wait to take a photo, even though the view of the falls was amazing. I came over to this rock right at the lip of the falls and did a little trimming to get this open, pretty engaging angle of Ben running the falls.
Looked too good. After watching Ben have a great line, I had to run it too. Luckily Leyla was willing to brave the Mopani bees and get this photo.
Stoked team at the end of the trip, at Kalambo Falls, second highest in Africa. With only the Kalambo River below Kalambo Falls remaining, we were all pretty excited with the trip we were about to complete and even more excited about the ideas we spawned along the way. With Pete Meredith and Leyla Ahmet on left.
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