Thunder Alley at sunset. Photo: Paul Marais
We’ve got a full midyear programme starting at Easter and going through the cool months till September. Read all about it here. The schedule of trips is kept up to date on the mobile site here (can be opened on desktop). Don’t miss the experience – quite soon the river will be dammed completely.
My favourite picture of the prominent koppie we called Space Shuttle, on the Orange River near the Lesotho border. This part of the river has been virtually dry during the terrible drought of 2014-5-6 but has suddenly recovered following heavy rains. We may be planning a trip to the Mayaputi Gorge if the water continues to run. It’s beautifully mountainous stretch, fairly easy, with a couple of good rapids to spice up the action. Contact us about Orange River trips!
SPLASH! This picture was taken on the Vaal River on 30 December 2015, with the drought in South Africa at its worst. Fortunately for us, the Vaal continues to flow at acceptable levels for rafting. This is thanks to the need for irrigation water downstream. It may be only a matter of time before the Vaal Dam upstream of us has to cut its releases, but we live in hope for late summer rains.
Rafting Longdrop rapid near Hopetown
We will be running our Orange River season (starting March) on the middle Orange near Hopetown. The remote and scenic route called Thunder Alley beckons. There the rapids are big and bouncy, running as a result of hydro releases from the Vanderkloof Dam.
It’s been the driest season on record. Lawns are dustbowls. Rocks we have never seen have emerged from underwater. Yet, with the blessing of water transfers from the Tugela River basin in KwaZulu/Natal, and from the Lesotho Highlands (Orange River catchment), we carry on rafting.
Many other rivers in SA are now dried up. The popular Blyde Xfest 2016 (Mpumalanga) has been cancelled – it’s amazing to recall that the same area in the Blyde River Canyon was hit by huge floods in very recent years. So it goes. The El Nino phenomenon in the central Pacific is causing it, but we suspect too that global warming is playing its part.
If you want to kept posted on where the water is best, get onto our Whitewater Watch List.