By Judith Sibanda
Adrenalin junkies who visit Victoria Falls are in for a special treat as Shearwater Adventures have commissioned a new jet boat, adding to the list of fun activities in the resort town.
The 430 horsepower jet boat which was designed in Cape Town, South Africa, which reportedly cost the firm about $500 000 is designed for adventure seekers who are ready to take on the treacherous waters at breakneck speed.
The diesel engine boat uses 80 litres fuel per hour due to its engine capacity.
The adrenaline pumping activity costs US$100 per ride which lasts for 35 minutes.
The Shearwater Jets general manager Garth Fowler said the 8-meter alumnus jet boat has passed the testing and marked safe for commercial use.
“So the boat is in the gorge and we have opened commercially this month and it’s doing well,” Fowler announced.
“We have had positive responses from our markets and everyone seems very excited, so what we have to see is how bookings will be like.”
Fowler said the new boat is an improved version of a jet boat they previously operated.
“The boat which was used previously was not specifically designed for this environment. It was fibreglass and had two engines among other design faults, so this boat has been designed for this environment,” said Fowler.
“As far as we know, none has been designed like that in South Africa, it has a 435 horsepower Volvo input engine with a commercial jet behind it and auxiliary motor on the side as a backup with a carrying capacity of twelve clients and two crew members.”
However, due to current low market uptake, they were servicing a minimum of two passengers at a time.
“We can do two or five passengers at the moment because we are just starting but somewhere we will adjust. I am very positive as this is one of the great products for the country and Victoria Falls, so it’s a fantastic product,” he said,
The boat operates in the Batoka gorge running past the boiling pot through rapid one, two and three and into the area above rapid number four.
Fowler added that the sailing will be guided by the water levels and in extreme high water levels; it will be taken off the gorge or at extreme low water levels because of the shallowness of the rocks.
The jet boat adds to an array of tourism activities such as conferencing, the rain forest, canoeing and bungee jumping among others.