Doring River

August only. Class 2-3+.
South Africa’s mini Grand Canyon in the Cape Cederberg
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Lazing along on a quiet stretch of the mini Grand Canyon

Lazing along on a quiet stretch of the mini Grand Canyon

Of all the rivers in this country that it is possible to run with rafting groups, the Doring is perhaps the most pristine and surprising in its grandeur. We do 2- and 4-day expeditions down the Doring “canyon” (as it deserves to be known). We have partners in the Cape and we run the river in collaboration with them. The put-in is near Clanwilliam, and as we do the river in the flower season you can expect a marvellous showing of Namaqualand daisies from August onwards. The drive from Cape Town on the N7 takes about 2.5 hours.

Chilling out - or warming up! - by the campfire.

Chilling out – or warming up! – by the campfire.

We generally meet the night before so that there is time to get to know everyone and get organised early next morning. There is traditional hospitality with a kettle on the flames and a potje pot filled with delicious stew, or a braai. This sets the tone for the days and nights to come.

Although the Doring is fed by winter rain and snow in the Cape mountains, the river itself flows through a semi-arid, warm region protected by high rocky cliffs. It is often sunny and warm – but in any case the conditions are mild and it never freezes. Campsites are wild and natural, set against the rocks with the river flowing past.

A group scouts Kranz rapid on the Doring

A group scouts Kranz rapid on the Doring

The rapids are of a considerable size and length. Corner Rapid is where the action really begins on the 4-day trip. It is followed by many more including Waterfall (where the Brandewyn Falls, on a tribuatary river, make an impressive sight) and the Chute, which gets us to the halfway point. Weekend outings begin at House Rapid, followed by Kranz with its towering cliffs, then Island, rushing out of sight around an island, and the surprising drop of Monster Muncher. Finally we walk around a weir in sight of the old Klawer bridge and meet the transport.

The Doring is very rain dependent and trips may be postponed in order to wait for water. Always check a few days in advance. However, even at fairly low water the Doring provides a wonderful experience of whitewater in the wilderness. At high water, well, it will give you a run for your money!

  • No children under 12. It’s ideal, though, for families with teenagers, and groups of friends.

 

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+27 84 245 2490 or +27 56 8181814. 

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yeeha[at]riverman.co.za

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