Oranje Gorge

Summer and winter. Class 2-3+.

Go to trips schedule

VIDEOS: http://www.youtube.com/graemeaddi search on “orange”

One of the most scenic and awe-inspiring whitewater rafting trails in Southern Africa takes us though a region bypassed by most travellers and still today regarded as a wild and abandoned frontier.

! blappsta gorge gariep falls 1025 x 500 GOOD

Paddling at the foot of the !Gariep Falls

The Orange is the river of the desert as it flows through the Kalahari, Bushmanland and finally the Namib. Our whitewater routes in this area are Neus Gorge (1 day) and the Oranje Gorge (5 day whitewater camping safari), both below the town of Kakamas.

orange river rafting party sunset IMGP7328 1024In the Kalahari the river winds its way between massive, bare mountains and granite outcroppings. Cactuses and other desert plants survive with a few spiny grasses. In the riverbed, semi-precious stones include jaspers, tigers eye, agates and garnets. Dawn rolls over the desert in displays of brilliant yellow and red skies that soon turn as blue as you can imagine. The night stars are unbelievable: virtually lighting you way as you head from the campfire to a well deserved rest in your tent (or just out on the sand).


About the trip

The trail lies west of Augrabies Falls, in stunningly scenic mountainous country. Below Onseepkans is a moonscape of baked rocks with a roaring river. You will learn to love this ancient river course with its many moods and wily character: it is a wonderful environment for self-discovery and for cementing family and relationships or building team spirit.

Highlight of the trip is the view we get of the Oranje Falls, or !Gariep or Ritchie Falls as they are variously known. The river tumbles over and through rock caverns, emptying into the main gorge. The falls come at the end of what we call the Chicken Run along the Namibian side of the main gorge. We paddle to the very lip of the gorge and stop to camp, then hike to see the falls.

After a night’s rest we portage down into the gorge, roping our boats and equipment to the water’s edge. Then we paddle up to see the falls from the level of the water – a truly awesome sight as a roar fills our ears and the water boils around us.
The trail starts at the border town of Onseepkans – a name derived from the Khoisan for “big turn in the river”. Here, the river turns south and east, the only place along its coursePaddling to the foot of the falls where it appears to reverse itself before finally turning and heading for the Atlantic Ocean. The Orange River Gorge, or Oranje Gorge, is though to lie along a massive fault or shear line similar to the San Andreas Fault in California. Because of the geology, the river cuts a deep gorge, filled with rapids.

Campfire tales under brilliant night skies

Campfire tales under brilliant night skies

Never fear – we know the routes well and as we were the pioneers of this route in the 1970s we have explored it at every level and in every season, coming to know its changes and dangers intimately. Although we cover only about 35km in three-and-a-half days, every moment is taken up with activities and sight-seeing so as not waste this precious time in one of nature’s wonderlands. Even in winter it can be hot here and in summer you won’t find us here at all.

Amazing dawns and sunsets in the desert

Amazing dawns and sunsets in the desert

We travel fully self-contained on the river, carrying all food, clothing and camping kit with us. When you book we send you a comprehensive Briefing explaining what to bring and what to expect. We do not book groups numbering fewr than 8 and our limit is 18. The river is raftable at almost all times. If there is a serious drought or a flood we may move to a slightly different location but the scenery and experience will be very similar. Drive yourselves to the rendezvous near Augrabies Falls.

In the area

We strongly recommend allowing a few days in advance or afterwards to explore the area, see Augrabies, and visit the Orange River wine cellars! Also on offer is our 1-day “warm up” paddle on the Neus Gorge section of the Orange near Kakamas.

  • Call us to discuss your plans – the group size and possible dates. If your group is small we may be able to put you together with others.

Psst… for a quick answer!


+27 84 245 2490 or +27 56 8181814. 



    Let us know what trip interests you, the date, the number of people and anything else relevant - eg are you wanting a family trip, teambuilding, a birthday party or what?
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera