Starting near Pofadder, the best paddling on the Orange River offers a variety of conditions, from flat water with flowing channels, lots of exciting small rapids and a few ‘big ones’ to get the adrenaline flowing.
At high water, it becomes an exciting white-water trip using inflatable two-person boats that are easy to paddle and steer. There are also rafts that are very stable and perfect for less-confident paddlers (dependent on water level). The standard trip is three days and four nights – four-day, five-night trips are also available and longer expeditions can be arranged.
The night before and after your river trip is spent at Red Rock River Camp on the banks of the Orange, with a ‘free’ camp for two nights on the river. You’ll cover a little more than 35 kilometres during the trip so there is ample time to relax, take photographs, read a book or explore. Each trip is a self-contained expedition and you’ll carry everything you need in and out again at the end.
A tent, inflatable mattress, pillow and sleeping bag will be provided and the guides will set up camp and prepare delicious meals, served at a table. South African wine will also be served with dinner. Drinks will be pre-ordered (for your own account) and kept on ice for you.
The best paddling on the Orange River offers a variety of conditions, from flat water with flowing channels, lots of exciting small rapids and a few ‘big ones’ to get the adrenaline flowing.
The trip starts out with flowing channels and flat water moving on to ‘Scorpion’ rapid. After more fun rapids you’ll take an evening walk to the amazing Ritchie Falls. The following day has challenging portage around the falls, undertaken by the whole group that lowers the boats into the gorge. Then experience the excitement of ‘42 man hole’, ‘Big Bunny’ and ‘Dolly Parton’ rapids, and paddle up underneath the waterfall. As you leave the gorge, things mellow out once again with mountains increasing in size around you.
The ‘Fish Eagle’ section upstream provides a great alternative to the Gorge for groups with younger kids or when river levels are too low on the Gorge.
Customised T-shirt, kikois or any other items can be arranged as mementoes!
What about ablutions?
On the river, your guide will inform you about ablution procedures. Usually, the environmentally friendly ‘cat hole’ toilet method is used (your guide will explain!) but, depending on the season and group size, a porta-loo may be provided. Generally, you will wash in the river.
Raft with the best
Gravity founder Andrew Kellett is a leading authority on swift water safety and rescue, and has been involved with the International Rafting Federation and the African Paddling Association for many years. Marie-Louise Kellett has an honours degree in Environmental Science and is particularly interested in nature-based tourism. Their experienced team of guides are true professionals!
Pricing guideline: from R10 750 pp (10-12 people) to R14 250 pp (4-5 people, or numbers in between for varying prices) for 3 days, 4 nights, OR
From R11 850 pp (10-12 people, or numbers in between for varying prices) to R16 600 pp (4-5 people) for 4 days, 5 nights. (Prices vary according to group size and can be tailored according to your needs.)
Where: Onseepkans (999km from Joburg, 1 412km from Durban, 700km from Cape Town)
Difficulty: Class 2-4, suitable for all skill levels and children above 8 years old.