Whether you decide to head down south to the Umkomaas and Umzimkulu rivers, inland to the Mooi, Umgeni and Thukela rivers, or north to the Buffalo, Bushman’s and Pongola rivers, tubing offer a relaxing, mellow alternative to their more extreme counterparts, white-water rafting, kloofing and kayaking.

Did you know?

Tubing is said to have been invented in Thailand by Princess Chumbhot of Nagar Svarga around the mid-20th century.

As tubing is a relatively independent activity, you can do it on your own, but it would be wise to consult locals regarding the safest spots to enter and leave the river and how you will get back to the start.

Although many KwaZulu-Natal establishments on or near rivers offer tubing, many adopt an 'at your own risk' policy, because they cannot police everyone who decides to ride the river. However, many adventure companies offer tubing tours, which usually include tubes and the collection of tubers at the end of their journey downriver.

Dlangala is a wildlife sanctuary in the Umkomaas River valley where a host of fun eco-adventure activities are offered. Enjoy a true taste of the African bushveld in this pristine wilderness, which is free of crocodiles and malaria, making tubing an appealing pastime.

Down on the South Coast of the province, the meandering expanse of the Oribi Gorge lures the more adventurous to leap off Lehrs Falls and experience the highest gorge swing in the world. Hundreds of metres below, the river meanders, offering white-water rafting and tubing conditions, depending on water levels.

As it meanders through valleys below the Drakensberg Mountains during summer, the Bushman’s River attracts tubing enthusiasts trying to escape the heat. A tube ride here will take you through Moor Park Game Reserve, where plentiful wildlife adds to the enjoyment of the ride.

The Mooi River passes through the rolling hills of the Midlands. The river runs through the Midlands Meander arts and crafts route, via a town of the same name. The falls are a sight worth seeing when the river’s in full flow, but on its usual slow meander it's perfect for tubing.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Four Rivers Rafting & Adventures
Tel: +27 (0)36 468 1693
Email: info@fourriversadventures.co.za

Oribi Gorge Information
Tel: +27 (0)39 687 0253

Dlangala Wildlife Sanctuary
Tel: +27 (0)33 347 2315

Best time to visit

KwaZulu-Natal's rivers are at their fullest between December and March.

Around the area

Trout and bass fishing are popular along many of the province’s rivers, and camping facilities are often close at hand, depending on your choice of location.

What will it cost

Many operators provide tubes for a nominal fee. If you prefer, take your own tubes, but remember to pack a pump.

What to pack

Wear a costume with shorts and T-shirt over it. A tie-on hat for the sun and trainers for clambering over rocks, plus lots of sunscreen.