RowZambezi 2018

Rowers take on the Kafue River for clean water causes.

Credit: RowZambezi

This summer, 3 boat crews including Oxford alumi will attempt to row 900km of the Kafue River. This 14-day sculling expedition along the Zambezi’s third largest tributary has never been attempted before and will push the team to their limits. It aims to raise awareness of the Kafue basin, and funds to support water causes.

The team includes Olympic rowers from the Zambezi River Basin nations of Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as Olympic medallists from South Africa (Sizwe Ndlovu) and the UK (Zoë de Toledo). It also includes rowers from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and prominent celebrities, such as Clare Balding (patron) and TV Star Jodie Kidd.

The sport of rowing is dependent on water, and most of the rowing world has easy access to good water. However, 1.1 billion lack this. With climate change, growing global population, and the human impacts causing increased water problems, WWF predicts that by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population may face water scarcity.

Zambia is at the acute end of this imminent crisis. The Zambezi basin – including the mighty Kafue River – has been brought into sharp focus, to the point where the WWF and FISA (the International Rowing Federation) have created the Kafue River & Rowing Centre (KRRC). The KRRC’s purpose is to be a centre of global excellence, to facilitate the sharing of freshwater research and data, free from corporate and political interference, restriction, or bias. Sited on the Kafue River, the RowZambezi crew will end their journey at the site purchased for the centre, and are the main fundraising partner, helping the KRRC raise the $1.25m required for its build.

The KRRC’s mission is to help Zambia, Africa and the world meet the freshwater challenges we are now beginning to face, and expect to come more acutely in the future. Alongside the KRRC, RowZambezi is supporting Village Water, a results-focussed charity, delivering wells in villages and schools in rural Zambia.

The team includes a number of research scientists keen to explore opportunities to gather data for conservation or water-based research, during the expedition. Potential work could include water quality testing, or field observations in areas of interest e.g. animal population density, or settlement numbers.

If you do have any ideas as to how RowZambezi could help your research contact Dr Alex Woods (Oxford-based surgeon and D.Phil in Zoology). To find out more about the expedition, and to sponsor a boat, visit

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