White water rafting in South Africa reaches its peaks at the Tugela River. With names like 'the liquidiser' and 'the washing machine', you know this river’s rapids are not for the faint of heart. But despite its fearsome reputation, the Tugela River delivers a safe but thrilling rafting experience.

Did you know?

The Tugela River is the largest river in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

White water rafting down the Tugela River (also Thukela) is one of the most sought after adventure experiences in the country.

With excellent rafting conditions and mammoth rapids, it's not surprising the Tugela River is one of the top South African white water rafting destinations.

The Tugela River is the longest river in KwaZulu-Natal, flowing from its source in the Drakensberg mountains down to the Indian Ocean. If it appears a placid bubbling brook where it gurgles over the rocky shallows beneath the mountains, it certainly doesn't stay like this for long.

It cuts through two areas – The Canyon (near Weenen) and the Tugela Gorge further downstream – where it is transformed into a raging torrent. It's here that you will encounter the appropriately named 'jaws', 'shark's fin', 'horrible horace' and 'rocky horror' rapids.

Hold on tight, because you're going to get tossed around like a lone sock in a washing machine. But the Tugela expeditions are great fun, totally invigorating and, most of all, they're safe. No rafting experience is necessary as trained and qualified South African Rivers Association guides lead all trips.

There are a number of professional operators offering white water rafting trips down the Tugela, varying from half-day to four-day excursions.

Some operators, like Zingela Safari and River Company, also offer combined rafting, abseiling, 4x4, quad biking and horse riding packages. These activities provide the perfect opportunity to take in the area's stunning birdlife and fauna.

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