The big rivers
    The three greatest rivers of South Africa – the Orange, Tugela and Vaal, in that order – are fed by the rains that fall in the eastern half of the country. South Africa consists of a high plateau (the highveld) which tends to be more and more arid the further west you go. The Vaal and Orange rivers are long and flat, covering great distances, occasionally dropping sharply over falls and big rapids. The landscape starts green and ends as desert at the Atlantic Coast. The scenery is superb: huge bare mountains come down to the edge of the water. On the Eastern and Southern sides of South Africa, steep rivers flow off the escarpment down the well-watered slopes and soon enter the warm Indian Ocean.  Rivers like the Tugela and Mkomazi are relatively short and steep, with many rapids and much excitement to offer.


    Asteep eastward flowing river which peaks in midsummer (November to March) with its roaring brown waters carving deep canyons in the green landscape of KwaZulu-Natal. The Tugela flows 350km eastwards to the Indian Ocean, offering plenty of routes for rafters.


    The river flows westward, some 2200 km to the Atlantic. Both the Orange and the Tugela rise in the same marshy patch of high ground in the Drakensberg at Mont Aux Sources, then divide and go their ways. The Orange flows right across the subcontinent, east to west, and becomes the “Nile of South Africa” as it crosses the Kalahari and Namib deserts.


    A tributary of the Orange, the Vaal also benefits from eastern rainfall and joins the Orange about halfway down its course. Together, these two rivers drain almost two-thirds of the interior of South Africa.The Vaal keeps the industrial heartland of SA alive but it is not a dirty ditch: particularly in the Vredefort Dome, where we operate, it is a beautiful wilderness river with many islands and channels supporting wildlife.

    Other riverson which you will find us include the Doring (Western Cape); and sometimes the Olifants (Limpopo Province); and Mkomazi and Mzimkulu rivers (KwaZulu-Natal). We’re always ready to explore a new river or establish a new route!

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