Rafting in Clarens, Free State
Did you know?
The Katse Dam is part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, a partnership between South Africa and Lesotho to supply water and generate hydroelectric power.
White-water rafting in Clarens in the Free State is all about crystal waters, adrenaline-pumping rapids and perhaps the most fun you can have on water in a day.
The adventure starts in Clarens, where you meet your guides, before driving 12km out of town to begin the day's (or half-day's, if you prefer) rafting.
And there's 'rapids and rafting for everyone', says Ollie Esplin, owner of Clarens Xtreme, which has been taking visitors down the river since 2005.
'Even if you have never done white-water rafting before, you can do it, and you don’t need to be fit,' he says. 'It's a young river and therefore it's a narrow river, where the current is pushing you the whole time, making it easy to navigate the 6- to 8-person rafts we use.'
Each raft has a guide on it, all of whom have river guide qualifications and level 3 first aid training. White-water rafting outfits should offer highly experienced guides, and you are encouraged to enquire whether they meet these standards.
Traversing the 18km stretch of the Ash River will take you about a day (or a half-day on the 9km option). The river has Grade 3 and Grade 4 rapids, including Car Wash, Fish Pond and Big Surprise (so named because the river makes a 90-degree bend and suddenly you are confronted with a 4m waterfall).
The various rafting outfits that offer the activity in Clarens can accommodate children on calmer parts of the river. Esplin’s company takes those under 10 years of age out of the raft for the rapids, and they then walk or drive to the next section of the river, where they once again board the craft
In winter (May to August), visitors are given wetsuits as the water is icy. At this time of year, the ride is called the Polar Bear Challenge.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)58 256 1260
Cell: +27 (0)82 563 6242
Cell: +27 (0)83 485 9654