Rafting & Kayaking in the Northern Cape
Rafting in South Africa
Freedom, nature, adventure and fun…. Paddling puts you back in touch with these core human yearnings. A truly limitless sport that is accessible to absolutely everyone, paddling will take you to places that you would never otherwise have had the opportunity of seeing or experiencing.
Mainstream paddling in South Africa is linked to the competitive side of the sport and includes world-famous events such as the Dusi Canoe Marathon and the Fish and Berg River Marathons. However, magnificent weather patterns provide the ideal backdrop for the diverse commercial paddling industry, which comprises rafting, sea-kayaking and touring on the country’s spectacular rivers, oceans, dams and lakes.
South Africa’s low rainfall belies the fact that it is home to some of the best river-rafting sections in the world. The rivers running off the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains in the east of the country provide high-volume and exciting rafting after good summer rains, through wild and untouched areas such as the Tugela, Umkomaas and Umzimkulu valleys as they head to the warm sub-tropical coastline.
The rivers in the Western Cape are lower volume and rely on winter rains, offering more relaxed trips and allowing paddlers to soak in the beautiful wineland scenery. This area is better known for idyllic sea-kayaking expeditions that focus on the area’s rich history and abundant sea life, delivering unforgettable interactions with penguins, dolphins, seals, whales and birds.
The dry desert regions of central and northwestern South Africa are interrupted by the country’s longest river, the Orange River, which provides endless sections to explore through ancient landscapes and gorges that nourish the soul.
The rivers of the northern Highveld and Lowveld areas are generally narrow, rocky and technical.
They often win the award for rafting excitement as they flow through expansive canyons, special conservancies and lush, pristine valleys.
Whatever your appetite, no matter your skill level and wherever you find yourself in South Africa, there is a stretch of water nearby that will satisfy any desire and may well surprise you by being the highlight of a holiday or quick getaway.
Articles & Blogs
Orange River Rafting: Namibia Border6:30am 18 Aug
Orange River Rafting: Namibia Border
The entire trip was frightening, but so superb. I’d never been white-river rafting before, and neither had my paddling companion, but we committed to a four day expedition and launched in the early morning. If it had been any later, I might have reconsidered that launch. By midday the rapids had become monstrous, and my arms were begging for rest. We were propelled over boulders by frothing horses, and brought under low canopies by the currents. At one point we were even rotating relentlessly, stuck in a hidden eddy. But, the...
SPLIT SECOND FINISH IN GREEN KALAHARI CANOE MARATHON8:22am 3 Apr
Pics by Jacques Marais
Organisers of the Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon in the Northern Cape predicted a fierce battle for top honours with the top three male paddlers only seconds apart at the start of the 26km final stage. And the competitors did not disappoint.
The three-day stage race started in Upington in the Northern Cape and finished at Khamkirri near Augrabies covering 99km on the majestic Orange River. In a split-second sprint to the finish,...