When we talk about white water rafting, Africa may not cross many people’s minds, however, I am glad to inform you that a number of the world’s best rapids can be found here, very pristine and untouched with breathtaking scenery and amazing landscapes nearby. Put aside the African destinations that are best known for their Big Five animals, and simply focus on where the prominent rivers in Africa are. Africa offers rapids ranging from the basic Class I to the powerful and impressive Class V so why not join in on an adventure down in Africa?
River Zambezi in Zimbabwe
This offers Class V rapids found close to the renowned Victoria Falls, and these are among the most powerful rapid in the whole world. These can only be taken on by expert rafters since it has violent fast moving water, steep gradients and long descents.
Fish River Canyon – Windhoek in Namibia
The fish river flows for nearly one hundred miles through very impressive rock formations after it drops from a high plateau found close to Windhoek. During your rafting expedition, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of differently colored geological wonders that are gifts of Mother Nature.
White Nile – Jinja in Uganda
White water rafting in Uganda is conducted on River Nile the longest river in the world. It offers very impressive international standard Class V rapids at the source of the River Nile. However, even beginners and all types of rafters will definitely have a section to explore down the course of the river irrespective of the level of their experience. The river banks are home to various wildlife including buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and numerous bird species.
Omo River in Ethiopia
River Omo offers difficult whitewater as well as a dazzling view of wildlife as you explore the remote sections down the course of one of the greatest rafting rivers in the world. Some of the rewards of your expedition will be views of hippos, orchids as well as the local Wolayta people living nearby.
Mangoky River in Madagascar
Now river Mangoky offers a generally calm water flow with fewer obstacles in its white waters. the beauty about is that you will get a chance to adventure past a number of remote villages, baobab trees, lemur colonies as well as several amazing gifts of mother nature. This is the perfect place for nature lovers.
Blue Nile River in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Blue Nile offers rather an adrenaline rush experience as you take on the Class V rapids. As the river flows further away from Lake Tana, there is a lot of tossing front and back, water splashing, rafters screaming all through down the rapids. Rafters will be rewarded with beautiful views of wildlife as well as the stunning scenery.
Rufiji River in Tanzania
River Rufiji offers a very good experience for holidaymakers who are new or call it beginners to the white water adventure sport. However, its rapid rise in class until the Class III rapids found in the, most challenging section. An adventure here will give you an opportunity to explore the southern Selous game reserve home to a very large number of wildlife.
Doring River in South Africa
Doring River offers yet another good rafting experience for holidaymakers who visit South Africa while on safari in Africa. Despite the fact that the rafting season within Western Cape is brief, well this is another recommended must visit destination down in South Africa.
Ahansal River – Marrakech in Morocco
Rafting begins at the cascade D’Ouzoud, a unique waterfall found close to Marrakech. the river offers intermediate rapids and rafters will be rewarded with views of the towering Atlas, beautiful gorges, as well as remote villages belonging to the Berber native people.
Orange River in South Africa
Close to Johannesburg and not far from the national border of South Africa with Namibia is River Orange. It offers rafting experiences for both beginners as well as experts. The section close to the gorge is perfect for expert white water rafting, while the section over the Augrabies Falls works perfectly for beginners.
Top 10 Helpful Tips for White Water Rafting in Africa
White water rafting is one of the most energizing outdoor activities you can enjoy while exploring Africa that does not depend on any level of expertise. Today, this activity has become very popular and it’s not just for the hard core crazy adventurers but for anyone interested in having an extra dose of adventure beyond the ordinary.
However, to ensure that your white water rafting experience is fun and memorable, we recommend that you and your family or friends you will be rafting with follow the few safety rules that govern this spot as highlighted below
- Choose a professional and well licensed rafting outfitter / company
As you search for an outfitter or a company to use for rafting, endeavor to ask them as many questions as possible. Find out for how long they have been in business with active operation as well as the present day ownership. Inquire about the nature of training they give their guides, whether they have all the required government licenses and permits. Once you get a professional company, then you are assured that all they will abide with all the safety rules and regulations
- Correctly wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket at all times
Simply wearing a life jacket does not mean you are safe; you have to ensure that you have worn it correctly. Make sure that the jacket is comfortably fitting, and all the buckles are well clipped. The most important thing is to ensure that the jacket is appropriately fitting your body size and cannot be pulled over your head by the water pressure. Before you hop into the raft, have a professional guide check you jacket to see if it fits appropriately.
- Always wear helmet to ensure your safety
Irrespective of the level of rapids you are going to run, always ensure that you have your helmet weis will ensure your safety since white water rafting has a lot of moving back and forth so possibilities of dashing can never be overlooked.
- Get the appropriate body wear for the day
During the early spring the water is normally chilly so a wet suit, splash jacket and river shoes could come in handy as they keep your body warm. However on the brighter side, Africa is endowed with nice weather and is generally warm, but nonetheless inquire with your outfitter about the current weather in the place you are going to be rafting. We recommend that you wear polypro like material clothing that easily dry, a pair of sunglasses with fastening straps and UV protection, and then don’t forget your sunscreen.
- Ensure that you old the paddle well
One of the key safety issues is ensuring that you hold you paddle very well while rafting. Make sure that one of your hands is always on the end of the shaft above the ‘T’ grip which is made of tough plastic material. This can easily knock your teeth so keep alert.
- Stay in the boat
Ensure that you always remain in the boat. With the rafting adventure, one time you are in the boat and the next time you are swimming in the water, so be very attentive and watch out for any rocks. One of the common commands used by the guides is ‘bump’ which they use as a warming for an upcoming collision with a rock. Once you here that command, lean in-wards and place the paddle ‘T’ grip in the boat’s floor. After encountering the block you can return in your seat, however, if you fall out do not panic, in case you are a distance away, swim and get back to the boat. All these safety pre-cautions will be given to you before you begin rafting.
- Use the correct swimming techniques
there are two major river techniques used while swimming in a river irrespective of whether you dive in for fun or just fall in. one of them is the ‘Down river swimmer position’ where you fall on your back while the nose and feet face upwards to the sky; the head should be up to enable you see where you’re going. With your knees slightly bent and the feet downstream, in case you ram into any obstacle, they will serve as shock absorbers and the feet can push you off the rock. The other position is lying on your stomach, point to where you want to go and then begin swimming until you finally make it out of the water. Remember, never walk in a river; your foot can easily get stuck in a crack in the rocks
- Memorize the ‘High – Siding’ command
The ‘high siding’ is a command which the guide may use as the final warning in an effort to keep the raft from overturning. Chances are that it may not happen however it does so, please do not panic. In instances where the boat gets in hydraulic or rams into a rock, it is normally in a side-way position and the rising water pressure at the bottom of the boat will easily cause it to flip over. However is the guide calls out ‘high – side’ all you have to do is to get up and throw yourself on the downstream tube on the raft (the direction the water is flowing).
- Do not panic
When white water rafting, the last thing you ever want to do is to panic, remember water doesn’t do well with a panicking body. So once you panic you will simply be wasting time than rescuing yourself.
- Always pay attention to the guide’s instructions
It is very important that you pay close attention to the safety talk that the guide will give you before you begin rafting. Try to memorize each and every thing they tell you. once in the water it is also important that you listen out for any further instructions or commands the guide may give.
One of the most adrenaline-filling or call it craziest water sport adventures you can ever participate in is White Water rafting. imaging plunging down the course of a river in just a rubber blown-up boat as you hit rock, dodge whirlpools and even fall in the water with the boat overturning at times; well it may seem unrealistic, however all this is possible with rafting!
In simple terms, this vibrant activity can be described as a movie that blends the ecstasy of being on dangerous white-water with a friendly war putting you plus a number of fellow terrified people against the gifts of Mother Nature. Common about any experience that involves facing a much stronger opponent is that several people normally decide to get together as a team to conquer the opponent. It is for this reason that this sport has turned out to be a popular team building activity for workmates, youth groups as well as groups of adventurous holidaymakers. Special about White Water Rafting is that unlike other sports where a single participant enjoys all the challenges alone, with rafting you will face the challenges and the happy moments together as a team, offering you very impressive stories to share at the end of the day.
White water rafting in addition offers participants a chance to experience the wonders of Mother Nature in quite a different way. The sport gets you close to different wildlife, takes you to pristine places that hardly receive any guests, and can only be accessed while on water with breathtaking scenery.so if you are interested in having an adrenaline filled activity while on Safari in Africa, then hite water rafting is the way to go.
Where did White Water evolve from?
It was back in the year 1811 when a team off explorer who did not have any special equipment or training decided to attempt their journey down the course of Snake River in USA using wooden boats. Unfortunately that voyage was not successful not until Lt. John Fremont together with Horace H. Day created the first ever rubber raft in the 1840’s that managed to take on the rumbling white waters of the river. With time, these rubber boats became popular among scientists while on the research expeditions. After the second world war (in the 1960’s), there were several rubber rafts that merged as remnants of the war and it was at that time that commercial rafting tours became popular. in the 1970s, this sport joined the Olympics, and later on, the International Rafting Federation was established in 1997 to manage this sport worldwide. Today this water sport adventure has become very popular not only in Europe but in Africa as well.
What Is a White Water Raft made from?
The white water rafts are made in different sizes to accommodate a vary number of people starting from one person to as many as twelve people, although the group size normally ranges from six to eight people. Rafts are made from synthetic materials such as urethane which easily slip over rock surfaces and are hard to destroy. The rafts have different numerous inflatable chambers such that in case one is punctured the others have air to keep the raft floating. Most of them come in a similar design of an upside down nose and tail plus several thwarts (which are inflatable tubes that extend across the rafts bottom side and its these that rafters sit on. the thwarts also help to keep the paddlers feet inside the raft.
Why you need an experienced guide while white water rafting?
The most experienced person supposed to be on your raft is the guide. Normally, he / she has one or two longer paddles which are used to move and guide the boat in water. The job of the guide is to navigate the raft safely down the course of the river and to inform paddlers when to and when not to paddle as they take on the rapids. Each participant has single-blade paddles that are shorter and they have to jointly work by paddling at the appropriate time to give the raft a forwards push if the need arises as instructed by the guide.
Who Can Go White Water Rafting?
Well, White water rafting is an adventure sport that can be enjoyed by nearly everyone. during these trips you will observe that majority of the participants don’t have any experience about it except for the knowledgeable guide who will lead the expedition, and is very well informed of the river’s dynamics. This however should not scare you as not much experience is needed except for those going on a grade 4, grade 5, or grade 6 classes of rapids.
Whenever you go rafting you should be aware that there are high chances of dropping into water, however, this does not necessitate that participants should know how to swim. All that is required of you is the ability to move into a defensive swimming-position of lying on the back with the legs floating close to the water surfaces while facing downstream to safeguard you from ramming into the rocks. Secondly participants should be fairly fit enough to paddle as it consumes a lot of energy.
Is White Water Rafting hard?
The truth is each river offers its own unique level of difficulty. However there is an international scale used to rate the different rivers across the planet. the River Difficulty international scale is a system that was developed in America, and it separates white water in six (6) different classes with class six (6) being the most dangerous and challenging / the hardest and class one (1) the easiest.
The Classes of River Rapids
Class I: this is the easiest level; it involves water moving very fast but with very few obstructions.
Class II: this level is best for novices or beginners. It involves rapids that are straightforward with characteristic wide-clear channels. There could be a few obstacles to maneuver, however these can be avoided easily.
Class III: this is also known as the Intermediate level. The rapids here are moderate and the stretch experiences irregular waves which may be challenging to avoid. You may encounter a number of powerful currents through the river section which in the long run will need expert maneuvers to conquer the section.
Class IV: this is the advanced level. It is comprised of powerful, but predictable rapids that require accurate boat handling as well as fast maneuvers working under pressure as a team. The level of injury here while in water is Moderate-to-high injury risk. You will encounter dangerous obstacles, powerful large waves, narrow shoots as well as holes. At this level, a participant’s experience will be highly required.
Class V: this is the expert level. The rapids are extremely violent with complicated demanding routes down the course of the river. The level requires that you have the proper equipment, very good rafting experience as well as good practice of rescue skills. Chances of participants getting injured in the water are high and rescue can be quite challenging.
Class VI: now this is known as the ‘Extreme’ level. The rapids are termed as ‘exploratory’ because they are unpredictable, extremely tough and very dangerous. This level can only be done by expert rafters since any slight mistake can result into severe consequences yet rescue is nearly impossible. Once a Class VI (six) rapid has been run several times, and then it is rated between Classes I to V.
What Equipment is needed for White Water Rafting?
Looking at the white water rafting equipment, we can generally put it that it is very simple putting the obvious paddle plus the boat aside. Generally it’s focused on keeping the participants adequately warm and afloat throughout the adventure. In case during your adventure you are going to be led by a tour-guide, he will provide all the equipment you will need. However, in case you wish you acquire your personal rafting kit, below is what you will need.
Wetsuit: a wet suit should be thick enough to keep you adequately warm, however it shouldn’t be very thick or tight to cause discomfort especially while paddling.
Buoyancy Aid / a personal flotation device (PFD): generally these are light-weight jackets that use foam to enable the person wearing them to float on water. We recommend that you choose a model that is open cut and slim-line to offer you enough freedom to move your legs and arms. Amazingly these have been tailored for both men and the female so please ensure that you get the appropriate make and size for yourself.
Footwear: when it comes to footwear, you have quite a number of options to make your choice from. Majority of the operators recommend you do trainers; if this is choice ensure that they are strong enough, well tied for firm grip and with good traction especially on the slippery rocks. Alternatively you could opt for wetsuit boots which will keep your feet warm, however these may not offer you good support as trainers. So while choosing these settle for a pair with a tough sole to offer you support as well as grip.
Helmet: it is mandatory for every participant to wear a helmet since you will encounter numerous rocks, there will be a lot of flying about here and there so bumping your head s something that is very likely to happen. Get a helmet designed for water sport activities as a number of other types of helmets cannot withstand water. It is safer to get a helmet with a bright color so that in case you fall into the water you can easily be spotted. In can you can get a helmet design that is peaked at the front, this will be very suitable as it you shelter your eyes from the sun as well as keep the water out of your face.