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If you’ve never been white water rafting before, South Africa is the perfect place to give it a shot. IIf 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, and these are supplied by certified operators. Certified operators also 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
Refer to the websites listed below.
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.
Things to do
Listen to instructions when you get to the rapids, paddle, and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
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.
- Zulu Waters Private Game Reserve
- Wildthing Adventures (Northern Cape and Western Cape)
- Clarens Xtreme White Water Rafting (Free State)
- Earth Adventures (Free State)
- Induna Adventures (Mpumalanga)
- Itchy Feet (KwaZulu-Natal)
- Khamkirri (Northern Cape)
- Whitewater rafting tips South Africa
- Dirty Boots
- The Riverman (Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape)
- Vaal Rafting (Gauteng)
- Zingela Safari and River Company (KwaZulu-Natal)
- Outrageous Adventures