Rafting in the Karoo

Thunder Alley is a great trip. It's memorable for good rapids, amazing karoo scenery, and particularly the fluted and polished rocks flanking the river in its deep riverbed. The trip starts near Egerton, east of Hopetown, and ends above Douglas where the Vaal meets the Orange.

Reliable water for rafting

In times of severe drought or flooding, this is the most reliable and runnable stretch of the Orange. Here the river is fed and controlled by two upstream dams: The !Gariep and Vanderkloof. The dams limit floods and also let water go in dry times. Irrigation and hydro power releases are made at regular intervals, especially in winter, so we are guaranteed a raftable river.

Wild waters of the dry karoo

The 5-day route features some of the best rapids on the Orange. It was first pioneered for rafting by Graeme Addison, the Riverman, in the mid 1970s. The surrounding country is unbelievably stark and beautiful. The semi-desert karoo falls steeply to the water's edge with great beaches and rock shelves for camping.

Amazing scenery

The drive to our base camp across the bare and featureless country south of Kimberley does not prepare you for the scene that greets your eyes as you descend to the river. Rich reedbanks and dense riverine forest alternate with canyon walls where the river winds and roars.

Photo: Paul Marais

Fun for everyone

While Thunder Allley offers thrills aplenty there is also time to chill out, just having fun in the water and off it. You can go tubing on the smaller rapids and hiking to the hilltops. Hopetown is where diamonds were first discovered in South Africa, so who knows, you may be lucky.

Orange R around Hopetown

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