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Water Adventures -- River Rafting & Tubing
View info for River Rafting & Tubing
River Rafting & Tubing: 47 listings
Four Rivers Rafting and Adventures
Drakensberg - Central, KZN
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Wild Five
South Coast, KZN
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Adventure Junkies
Johannesburg, GAU
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Xama Adventures
Cape Town, WC
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Whitewater Training
Northern Free State, FS
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African Water Wanderers
Cape Town, WC
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Parys River Raftin'
Northern Free State, FS
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Wild Mountain Adventures - River Rafting
Rhodes village, EC
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Felix Unite River Adventures
Clareinch, NC
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White Mountain Lodge
Drakensberg - Central, KZN
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Sunwa River Lodge
Northern Free State, FS
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Outrageous Adventures
Eastern Free State, FS
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Dome Booking
Northern Free State, FS
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R.E.A.L Adventures
Parys, FS
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Break Water River Rafting
Breede River Valley, WC
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Wildthing Adventures
Cape Town, WC
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Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails
Helderberg, WC
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Sabie River Adventures
Hazyview, MPU
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Tapimanzi
Northern Free State, FS
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Induna Adventures
Hazyview, MPU
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Mohlatsi Adventures
Mopani, LIM
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Dimalachite
Northern Free State, FS
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Earth Adventures
Northern Free State, FS
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Umko Rafting
South Coast, KZN
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Stone Adventures
Parys, FS
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Aquatrails
Cape Peninsula, WC
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Clarens Xtreme Adventures
Eastern Free State, FS
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The Zingela Safari & River Company
Northern Natal, KZN
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Buffalo Adventures
Northern Natal, KZN
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Wylde Ride
Pietermaritzburg, KZN
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African Rafting
Augrabies Falls, NC
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Parys Rafting
Northern Free State, FS
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Mobile Adventures
Cradle of Humankind, GAU
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Paddle Power Adventures
Hardepest, NWP
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River Wild
Sudwala's Kraal, MPU
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The African Rafting Company
Helderberg, WC
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Rafting Route 62
Breede River Valley, WC
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Break Away Trails
Rouxville, FS
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Ingwenya Tours
Northern Free State, FS
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Karoo River Rafting
De Keur, EC
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Clarens Extreme Adventures
Eastern Free State, FS
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REAL Adventures
Northern Free State, FS
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Parys Whitewater Rafting
Northern Free State, FS
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Wild Sky Adventures
Drakensberg - Southern, KZN
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CAMP BUFFALO / BUFFALO ADVENTURES
Northern Natal, KZN
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Liquid Adventures
Richmond, KZN
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Neus Gorge Rafting
Augrabies Falls, NC
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: Ride the Rapids...
River Rafting Adventure:
Ride the Rapids...
There’s no doubt that river rafting and tubing is one of the great outdoor activities and certainly one of the more popular outdoor adventures for inbound tourists and also for corporate groups looking for team building sessions.

We are fortunate that South Africa has some amazing rivers with varying conditions by season and an assortment of required skills levels, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be spoiled for choice. The most popular time for rafting adventures is November – May when most of the country is in its rainy season swelling rivers and providing more technical challenges.

There are many rivers available for guided or (not recommended) self guided paddling or tubing. Some of the most popular rivers are:
  • The Orange (borders Namibia in the North), this is a beautiful river with dramatic scenery and some challenging rapids.
  • The Vaal, (an Orange River tributary), which also has some interesting little rapids and because of it’s location close to Jhb it’s a popular choice.
  • The Doring (Western Cape), a short season river rafted mostly at the end of winter, which is when it’s more technical white water is most challenging. Great, but cold, experience for the brave only.
  • The Umkomaas (KwaZulu-Natal South Coast) provides some brilliant paddling opportunities with a few challenging but not technical rapids.
  • The Umgeni (Durban North) is the last portion of the annual two-day Dusi Canoe Marathon and is an interesting albeit not difficult paddle.
  • The Blyde (Mpumalanga) is undoubtedly the most beautiful river with spectacular scenery. It has a steep fall and is an alpine style river with varying technical difficulty depending on season/weather conditions.
  • A word on River Rafting & Tubing:
      "Like swift water, an active mind never stagnates." - Author Unknown

    "Sometimes luck is with you, and sometimes not, but the important thing is to take the dare. Those who climb mountains or raft rivers understand this." - David Brower

    "The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare to let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure." - Richard Bach
     


    Equipment:

    The type of raft used nowadays for recreational rafting is almost exclusively an inflatable boat. It consists of very durable, multi-layered rubberized fabrics with several independent air chambers. Its length varies between 3.5 m (11 ft) and 6 m (20 ft), the width between 1.8 m (6 ft) and 2.5 m (8 ft). Rafts come in a few different forms. In Europe the most common is the symmetrical raft steered with a paddle at the stern. Other types are the asymmetrical, rudder-controlled raft and the symmetrical raft with central helm (oars). Rafts are usually propelled with ordinary paddles and typically hold 4 to 12 persons.
    : Fun for the whole Family...
    River Rafting Adventure:
    Fun for the whole Family...


    Safety:

    Whitewater rafting can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not observed. In the past there have been many accidents; both commercial trips and private trips have seen their share of injuries and fatalities, though private travel has stereotypically been associated with greater risk. Depending on the area, legislated safety measures now exist for rafting operators, ranging from certification of outfitters, rafts, and raft leaders, to more stringent regulations about equipment and procedures. It is generally advisable to discuss safety measures with a rafting operator before signing on for a trip. The equipment used and the qualifications of the company and raft guides are essential information to be considered.

    Like most outdoor adventure sports, rafting in general has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipment has become more specialized and increased in quality. This is no doubt as a result of the difficulty rating of most river runs has changed. A classic example would be the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, which has swallowed whole expeditions in the past, leaving only fragments of boats but is now run safely by commercial outfitters hundreds of times each year, with relatively untrained passengers. (Source: California State Parks)

    Risks in whitewater rafting stem from both environmental dangers and from improper behavior. Certain features on rivers are inherently unsafe and have remained consistently so despite the passage of time. These would include "keeper hydraulics", "strainers" (e.g. fallen trees), dams (especially low-head dams, which tend to produce river-wide keeper hydraulics), undercut rocks, and of course dangerously high waterfalls. Rafting with experienced guides are the safest way to avoid such features. Even in safe areas, however, moving water can always present risks -- such as when a swimmer attempts to stand up on a rocky riverbed in strong current, risking foot entrapment. Irresponsible behavior along the lines of rafting while intoxicated has also contributed to many accidents.

    To combat the illusion that rafting is akin to an amusement park ride, and to underscore the personal responsibility each rafter faces on a trip, rafting outfitters generally require customers to sign waiver forms indicating understanding and acceptance of the risks. Rafting trips often begin with safety presentations to educate customers about problems that may arise.

    Having said all this, the overall risk level on a rafting trip with experienced guides using proper precautions is low. Thousands of people safely enjoy raft trips every year.

    Interesting Facts:

    The International Scale of River Difficulty is a standardized scale used to rate the safety of a stretch of river, or a single rapid. The grade reflects the technical difficulty, skill level required and danger associated with the section of river.

    Classification

    There are six levels, each commonly referred to as "Grade" or "Class" and then a number. The scale is not linear, nor is it fixed. There can be hard grade twos, easy grade threes, and so on. Also, the grade of a river may change with the level of flow. Often a river or rapid will be given a numerical grade, and then a plus (+) or minus (-) to indicate if it is in the higher or lower end of the difficulty level. It should be noted that even though a section of river may be given an overall grading, it may contain sections above that grade (these are often noted as features and details of portages may be given). Conversely, a higher grade will likely contain sections of lower graded water.

    Class/Grade I
    A Grade I (One) section will have long sections of flat, slow moving water, with minor ripples or waves and a course that is easily navigable. There is little danger to swimmers (other than the usual hazards of water) and self-rescue should be easy.

    Class/Grade II
    A Grade II (Two) section may have sections of straightforward rapids, some small waves, weirs, small drops or ledges and eddys. There will be a clear route through all features without a need for inspection.

    Class/Grade III
    A Grade III (Three) section will have numerous rapids, irregular waves and moderate drops, harder eddys that may recirculate and stoppers (also known as hydraulics or holes) may form below drops and in waves. The river may have a broken flow that might not always present a clear course. Often these sections have a series of drops creating a steep overall gradient. On the whole, from-the-water inspection should be sufficient, although some harder parts may need inspection from the river bank. The "Numbers" section of the Arkansas River, Class IV-V The "Numbers" section of the Arkansas River, Class IV-V

    Class/Grade IV
    A Grade IV (Four) section will feature long, difficult rapids with highly irregular waves, a steep gradient, a stepped profile with drops up to 3 m in height, difficult eddys and whirlpools. The course of the river may be hard to recognise and powerful but predictable flows require precise handling, with a high risk to swimmers. Off-river inspection is highly advised, as is bank support for some features.

    Class/Grade V
    A Grade V (Five) section will be similar to a Grade IV, with larger, more violent features and less predictable flows. Often, there will be large, unavoidable dangers such as holes and boiling/recirculating eddys. Courses are difficult to find and will definitely incur a risk to both paddler and equipment. A pre-run inspection from the river bank is VITAL. Rescue is often difficult, and bank support with throw lines is always recommended. Class/Grade VI A Grade VI (Six) section is at the pinnacle of technicality and difficulty. Only to be attempted by teams of highly skilled experts, there is a definite risk to a paddler's life, as many of these sections have either never been (successfully) paddled before, or they have led to deaths. Often a Grade VI will be a single feature within a Grade IV or V section, such as a water fall. Bank support with rescue lines is always required, as is inspection from all possible angles, and luck is often considered an important part of a successful run.
    Caution in application
    The grade of a river or rapid is likely to change along with the level of the water. High water usually makes rapids more difficult and dangerous, although some rapids may be easier at high flows, because features are covered or "washed-out". At flood stage (spate), even rapids which are usually easy can contain lethal and unpredictable hazards. Conversely, some rapids may be easier with lower water levels when dangerous hydraulics become easier to manage. Also, some rivers with high volumes of fast moving water may require little maneuvering, but will pose serious risk of injury or death in the event of a capsize. Additionally, the application of this classification can vary enormously, depending on the skill level, experience, bravery or foolhardiness of the paddlers who rated the river. Ratings can also differ somewhat from country to country.
    : Tubing is a great kick...
    Tubing Adventure:
    Tubing is a great kick...


    History:

    Recreational River Rafting and Tubing has been popular for many years but it has only been in the last 20 years that River Rafting has kicked off as one of the most popluar Adventure Activities. Early operators were sometimes seen as mavericks and were relatively inexperienced, resulting in some injuries. Once the industry became regulated and safety was treated as a priority, these initial teething problems were quickly ironed out and today river rafting is a safe, enjoyable and adrenalin pumping outdoor adventure.

    Links:



    African Paddling Association
    International Rafting Federation


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