White Water Rafting in South Africa

Guests train for their white water rafting adventure.

White water rafting is one of the most exciting adventure activities you can do while travelling in South Africa.


White water rafting in South Africa is a superb way to combine action and adventure in scenic wilderness areas. Whether it is a relaxing paddle or a thrill-ride, you’ll enjoy getting away from it all into the great outdoors. Many rafting options are suitable for families and all the rivers are graded with a degree of difficulty of between 0 and 5, with 6 generally being hazardous and not safe to run.

You can set off on one day trips or stay over on a multiple day adventure, depending on where you go and at what time of year. In each case equipment is provided and qualified river guides will lead the trip after a full briefing on rafting and river safety. You’ll get an idea of what to expect and be introduced to interesting rapid names such as “Dolly Parton”, “Big Surprise” and “Car Wash”.

On longer river runs, meals and drinks are supplied en-route at a suitable scenic spot so you can rest and relax before the next leg. Multiple day journeys include stopovers at base camps or specific camp sites. Some tours are on a participation basis while on others everything is set up and prepared for you including delicious meals.

The fully catered options give you a chance to truly relax - after a day on the water you will be starving but elated! You can enjoy a nice hot shower before tucking in to a campfire dinner, surrounded by fellow travellers all sharing stories and insights under the brilliant night sky. Camp accommodation is usually shared, but it is all part of the fun.

Take a holiday and see the sights

You could combine a white water rafting trip with a holiday in the local area, where there is sure to be a South African national park or nature reserve as well as many other exciting attractions. Rafting is becoming more and more popular for those who want to do something really different. It is also great for families and groups, as well as corporate and team building getaways.

Well known white water rafting favourites include the Blyde River (Mpumalanga) and the Orange River (Northern Cape). Excellent national parks in the area offer a variety of attractions from scenic landmarks to exceptional flora and wildlife.

The Blyde River runs through the 3rd largest canyon in the world and into the Blyde Dam. You can enjoy shorter or longer rafting trips in this scenically spectacular area which is brimming with history and great attractions. You are also quite close to the Kruger National Park, so you could combine rafting, sightseeing and a safari in one great South African holiday.

The Orange River (also known as the Gariep) is the longest river in South Africa, cutting a path through the land from one end to the other. It is a mainstay in the river rafting world as it runs year round. The scenery is also dramatic and the star spangled night skies are stunning. The base camps for river rafting are remote (between the Richtersveld and Augrabies Falls), but the pristine setting makes it an unforgettable destination.