White water rafting on the Thukela River
Did you know?
The Tugela River features the world's 2nd highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls.
White water rafting down the Tugela River is one of the most sought after adventure experiences in the country. Boasting 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 2 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 4-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.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0) 31 366 7500
Zingela Safari and River Company
Tel: +27 (0) 36 354 7005/7250
Southern Africa Rivers Association (SARA)
Tel: +27 (0) 12 667 1838