White water rafting in South Africa is as good as anywhere else in the world, with powerful rivers cutting through stunning scenery. A number of established tour operators around the country offer expeditions during months in which water levels are high enough. Generally no experience is needed.

Did you know?

At 2200km, the Orange River is South Africa's longest.

If you’ve never been white water rafting before, South Africa is the perfect place to give it a shot. If you have experienced this rush at some stage, you’ll enjoy seeing how your South African adventure measures up.

Generally speaking, a white water rafting expedition involves a mix of navigating through rapids at high speed and enjoying the scenery along the calmer sections of water in-between. As you enter each powerful section of white water you'll feel your pulse racing and sense of balance tested. Then it's out of the power zone with a sense of accomplishment as you drift into flat water again. If you do happen to take a tumble, be happy in the knowledge that your white water tales will have more of an edge.

Some of the better known rivers for white water rafting in South Africa are the Orange River (Northern Cape and Western Cape), the Vaal River (Gauteng and Free State), Doring River (Western Cape), Blyde River (Mpumalanga), and the Umkomaas and Bushman’s rivers (both in KwaZulu-Natal).

More experienced rafters should look into expeditions along the Blyde River, which are known for their intensity.

When rivers are in spate, distances of up to 12km can be comfortably completed within 2 hours, allowing participants to experience a wide range of scenery and wildlife.

South Africa gets the majority of its rain during the summer months between October and April, making these months premium white water rafting periods (outside of the Western Cape, which experiences winter rain).

The inflatable boats used for rafting expeditions in South Africa vary in size, from one-person boats to those that have space for up to 10 paddlers. Required equipment consists of helmets, life jackets and paddles, while certified operators keep a basic first aid box on board. Safety procedures are always explained before the start of an expedition, preparing participants for any emergency situations.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Outrageous Adventures
Tel: +27 (0)83 485 9654
Email: kallie@outrageousadventures.co.za

Wildthing Adventures
Tel: +27 (0)87 354 0578

Real Adventures
Cell : 072 749 8169

Best time to visit

Between April and October if you are visiting the Western Cape, or October to April for other parts of South Africa.

What will it cost

Prices generally start from around R520 per person, depending on the duration of the expedition, how many paddlers there are and so on.

What to pack

Bring an old pair of running shoes, quick-dry clothing and a change of clothes to wear afterwards. All equipment will be provided.

Where to stay

Zulu Waters Game Reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands offers white water rafting to guests as part of their packages.