Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting in South Africa
South Africa has some fantastic rivers to choose from, so you'll be forgiven for getting a little confused. Listed below is the different options with explanations. The paddling trips are divided into white water trips, mostly scenic and flat water. White water trips are those in which rapids form the major attraction. Mostly scenic are usually on not too hectic pool-drop rivers.
These have long flat stretches with a few fun rapids in between. In the Specialist Information booklet it has been indicated which trips are suitable for which types of people.
'All levels of fitness' refers to anything from average, moderately healthy, couch potato to athletic. Very unfit people (those who can't, for example, walk ten blocks with ease) will struggle with the rivers but may still enjoy some of the flat water trips.
Visitors on a South African holiday are quite spoilt for choice, as there are quite a number of rivers to choose from. The most popular river is the Orange, which forms the country's northern border with Namibia. It's a long, green-fringed oasis running through the mountainous desert area known as the Richtersveld. Incredibly scenic, it also has a few fun rapids.
Probably the best in terms of scenery, as well as rapids, is the Blyde in Mpumalanga Province (aptly named, as blyde means 'happiness' in Afrikaans). Running through a dazzlingly beautiful gorge, this deep turquoise-blue river offers constant action.
There is also some fun canoeing in the lakes area of the Garden Route, especially Wilderness and Knysna Lagoon. The Blyde River in Mpumalanga is probably one of the most beautiful rivers to explore when on a South African holiday - a somewhat hectic, technical alpine-style river with a steep gradient.