Canoe the Orange River
Did you know?
The Orange River was named by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the Dutch East India Company in honour of William V of Orange. In Lesotho, where it rises, it's called the Senqu.
Canoeing, rafting and fly-fishing are just three adventure opportunities offered along the 2 200km-long Orange River, South Africa's longest river. Serious outdoor enthusiasts can take guided tours that involve sleeping under the stars for several nights while travelling the river and enjoying its surrounds during the day.
The Orange River winds through an assortment of topography, including some majestic mountain ranges on its way into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay.
Augrabies Falls National Park, which is just less than two hours' drive from Upington Airport, is one of the most popular places from which to start your journey on South Africa's longest river. Other options include the Richtersveld National Park and various points in Namibia.
There are several tour operators who offer qualified river guides. These experienced guides will take you on an adventure that could last anything from a day to a week; depending on how much time you have available. Trips down the river can be made by canoe or raft – the latter providing a more comfortable option for those new to river travel.
With rapids to test even the most experienced paddlers, as well as flat, serene sections for a relaxing day out, the Orange River provides something for everyone.
Fly fishermen with a sense of adventure can take a tour from Augrabies Falls National Park. Duration options on these trips range from a half-day tour to a four-day expedition. Longer tours provide access to the wilder, more exclusive sections of the river where, if you're lucky, you might encounter the elusive yellow fish, which can weigh up to four kilograms.
Whatever your pleasure, the Orange River will deliver.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)21 702 9400
Tel: +27 (0) 82 476 8213
How to get here
There are many points along the Orange River from where to start your adventure; all are easily reachable by car. The easiest is to fly to Upington and access the river from the nearby Augrabies Falls National Park.
Best time to visit
Tours operate throughout the year, but are most popular in the summer months from November to March. Winter can get very cold.
Hiring your own transport is the most convenient option; there are also numerous guided tours to choose from.
What will it cost
A four-day canoe trip costs around R4 500 per adult, which includes all meals. Shorter trips are available at lower rates.
Length of stay
Set aside eight to 10 days if you want to embark on a serious river expedition.
What to pack
Should you wish to begin your journey on the Namibian side of the Orange River, you will need your passport. A camera is a must (most tour guides have safe, dry storage space for photographic equipment). And don't forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat.