Whitewater Rafting in South Africa

With its majestic mountains, rushing rivers, varied geography and agreeable climate, sunny South Africa has plenty to offer outdoor adventure seekers. Whitewater rafting is an increasingly popular activity in South Africa – both as a holiday adventure and team building exercise. Experienced tour operators ensure the safety of rafters, with varied levels of difficulty offering something for everyone.

Located just an hour from Johannesburg, the Vaal River at Parys offers white water rafting as a one-day experience that is a good starting point for beginners. The town of Parys is also a delight to explore, providing the perfect day-trip for the entire family, with camping grounds for those who want to make a weekend of it. Also close to Johannesburg and Pretoria is the Crocodile River with its Grade 1 and Grade 2 rapids in stunning surroundings at Broederstroom.

In the Free State province of South Africa, the town of Clarens is a true treasure to explore. Activities in the area include abseiling, quad biking, paintball and whitewater rafting on the Ash River with its Grade 3 and Grade 4 rapids. The Ash River flows from the Katze dam in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains, winding its way past Clarens and eventually emptying into the Vaal dam. With rapids named ‘Car-Wash’, ‘Alles Verloren’, ‘Alles Gevonden’ and ‘Big Surprise’, this adventure is not for the faint-hearted, but offers a guaranteed adrenaline-rush – under expert supervision.

The Orange River is part of the natural border separating South Africa’s Northern Cape province from neighboring Namibia. As it flows toward, and eventually into, the Atlantic Ocean on the West Coast of South Africa, the Orange River offers some exciting options for whitewater rafting, most notably at Vioolsdrif and the border post town of Onseepkans.

A family fun option in the Western Cape is the Breede River, either at locations close to Cape Town, or further inland including just outside the picturesque town of Robertson. The Brak River near Middelburg in the Karoo is another popular whitewater rafting destination, while in KwaZulu Natal the Tugela, Umgeni and Umzimkhulu Rivers offering varying degrees of difficulty for adventurous watersport enthusiasts. Considered by many to be one of South Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Blyde River in Mpumalanga is also one of the most challenging as it makes its way down some really steep gradients with awe-inspiring power. Certainly, there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy whitewater rafting in South Africa.