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Home » White Water Rafting Safaris in Africa, African White Water Rafting Safari Trips, Rafting Tours in Africa

White Water Rafting Safaris in Africa, African White Water Rafting Safari Trips, Rafting Tours in Africa

White water rafting safaris in Africa or African whitewater rafting safari trips are an incredible adrenaline rush safari activity and a fun sport to undertake during your trips.

When a boat is dropped in the water, it is the beginning of fun as you move down, enjoying a blood-pumping adventure.

Africa is renowned for its abundance of wildlife covering an extensive flora and fauna on the beautiful nature & landscape. However, whitewater rafting experiences are worth an encounter!

Experience this trip on one of the most legendary expanses of whitewater on earth below the 360-foot-tall Victoria Falls, the famed Nile (the longest river in the world) in Uganda in East Africa to add on your wildlife African Safari experiences in renowned destinations like Chobe National Park in Botswana. You may also explore remote villages while on this trip.

Apart from the Southern Africa whitewater rafting destinations like Zambezi River at Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Fish River Canyon in Namibia, and Orange River in South Africa, other common rivers to have this trip are River Rufugi in Tanzania, Omo River in Ethiopia and R.Tana in Kenya, etc.

This beautiful activity is one that you will remember forever, thus, get to discover the different classes of rapids ranging from class I to class VI during your African white water rafting trips.

Your first night of the trip will be spent in a comfortable lodge where you will enjoy a delicious dinner.

Continue reading below to find out more about this thrilling white water raft trip.

What is a White-Water Raft Made From?

Rafts which are in different sizes to accommodate between 1 to 12 people are made of different materials including Urethane, inflatables, and thwarts to keep the paddlers' feet in the boat.

Therefore, you may either have a personal flotation device or explore in a group.

Where Did White Water Evolve From?

Whitewater rafting began in 1811 when a group of explorers led their wooden boat down the Snake River course in the USA but their safari was not successful. John Fremont and Horace H. Day invented the first rubber raft in the 1840s and in the 1960s after World War 2, scientists created more rafts when the activity became popular among tourists.

In the 1970’s, whitewater rafting was made an Olympic sport and in 1997, the International Rafting Federation was formed to manage it in the whole world.

The Classes of River Rapids

White Water Rafting

The rapids for Whitewater rafting are in different classes depending on the intensity of the waters. Below, we look at their different classes to explore.

  1. Class I: This is the easiest level of rapids because of the absence of obstacles, even though the white water moves faster. They are good for beginners, intermediate rafters, and professionals.
  2. Class II and Class III: This class is good for both beginners and advanced adventurous people. There are a few obstacles along the way although it is easy to avoid the wave. Sometimes, you may face strong currents that will need strong skilled participants to dodge. Class III has intermediate rapids of the white water for a great trip.
  3. Class IV and V: These are advanced levels that require professional people well-trained and skilled to dodge the rapids and paddle well. Their intermediate rapids are great for skilled rafters

Top 5 Spots for your Whitewater Rafting Tour in Africa | 5 Prestigious Places to Go White Water Rafting in Africa

While Africa is known for wildlife trips for example at the Chobe National Park in Botswana, you can also participate in an adventurous water trip. Discover the 5 most incredible spots for African white water/Whitewater rafting during your trips.

  1. The Zambezi River at Victoria Falls | River Zambezi in Zimbabwe

The Zambezi River which creates the Victoria Falls shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia. These Victoria Falls, which is the largest waterfall in the world flow with a strong drive through the 100-meter-deep Gorge, called the Batoka Gorge to Lake Kariba. At the Batoka Gorge, white water rafting can occur up to a distance of over 200 meters. The water body at Batoka Gorge was first explored in 1981.

Batoka Gorge also provides amazing scenery at the cliffs. The white water rafting expeditions on Victoria Falls begin about 6 miles down the river featuring class III to IV rapids.

Get to closely observe the beautiful Victoria Falls along the Zambezi River and wildlife like birds and Hippos.

Some clients returning to the starting point have the option of using a helicopter from the Batoka Gorge.

Can You Raft the Zambezi River?

Yes, you can have this adventure at the Zambezi River found below Victoria Falls. It is considered one of the best destinations in the world to go for your whitewater rafting expeditions.

What Grade is Zambezi Whitewater Rafting? | What Class Rapids is the Zambezi River?

The Zambezi River offers class III to V rapids near Victoria Falls, thus considered to be one of the most powerful in the world. Therefore, white water rafting these waters is difficult even for rafters who are experienced because of the turbulent moving water with steep gradients and descents.

Is it Safe to White Water Raft in the Zambezi River?

White water rafting during a River Zambezi adventure is safe because it is mostly done during the dry season when the water levels are lower. Additionally, professional guides always lead you on the adventure, advising you on the most important precautions for a safe safari.

They are also safe for both participants who know how to swim and those who are not good at swimming.

How Much Does it Cost to Raft the Zambezi River?

This adventure costs about $ 150 on the Zambezi River, depending on the season.

  1. The Nile River in Uganda

Whitewater rafting in Uganda occurs at the longest river in the world, whose source is Lake Victoria. With two major tributaries which are the White Nile and the Blue Nile River, this experience at the longest river on planet earth occurs majorly at the White Nile in Jinja.

Depending on the location, this trip to the White Nile comes with amazing nature views of different wildlife for example the Hippos, Buffaloes, Crocodiles, and various bird species like Fish Eagles.

Does the Nile Have Whitewater Rafting?

Yes, it has whitewater rafting as it has the fast class v rapids which is majorly for experts. However, beginners have a specific region in which they can participate in Kayaking instead.

A trip to this water body in Uganda usually takes between half a day to two days and it takes place at the Bujahali Falls, Wildwaters Reserve, and Nile Special.

  1. Rufiji River at Southern Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Rufiji River, the largest inland watercourse in East Africa has class III rapids, thus offering a great safari for beginners. Being on Southern Selous Game Reserve, you can also participate in wildlife viewing and watch different animals like Hippos and birds like Fish Eagles of the beautiful reserve while exploring Rufiji.

Exploring the Rufiji River is best done during the dry season from June to October.

  1. Blue Nile River in Ethiopia

The Blue Nile River in Ethiopia also provides an adrenaline rush experience in its wild white water. The Blue Nile River flows from Lake Tana splashing intensely and providing beautiful views of the wildlife and nature.

The Blue Nile from Ethiopia’s Lake Tana flows through Sudan and Egypt allowing participants to explore remote villages as they experience their trip. Between Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls is an amazing place for calm water floats as you view wildlife like Hippos.

  1. Orange River, South Africa

The Orange River in South Africa offers some of the best whitewater rafting adventures to combine with wildlife trip in the country.

Orange River originally called the Gariep River is the largest in South Africa flowing towards the Western Cape Town. The Orange River provides great experiences for both beginners and experts.

In the calmer sections of the park, you will get to view various beautiful scenery for example the beautiful flora and fauna like Fish Eagles, Baboons, and Klipspringer, among others. The best time to go on this trip is between March to April.

Other Places to Go Rafting in Africa

Whitewater rafting is one of the popular adventurous activities in Africa and you can explore other rivers offering rapids from class 1 to class 5 to perform this activity for example,

  1. Sagana/ Tana River in Kenya

This is the longest river in Kenya providing rapids between classes 2 to 5. This makes it favorable for this trip in both the low and high-water seasons.

  1. Fish River Canyon in Windhoek in Namibia

Fish River Canyon is an impressive destination to enjoy this trip. Through captivating rocks, Fish River Canyon flows about 100 miles, rewarding you with beautiful views of nature.

The activity Fish River Canyon will provide you with the best experiences as you pass through the Tunnels, Blackcoal, Sharpnose, and Sphincter. Thus, the destination is one of the best rivers to experience this trip in Africa.

  1. Omo River in Ethiopia

The Omo River also provides some of the best expeditions for rafters on their trips. The Omo River will grant you the most amazing experiences in which you will watch various wildlife for example Orchids and Hippos, among others.

  1. Mangoky River in Madagascar

The Mangoky River is much calmer and thus good for beginners. Mangoky River will thus bring you the best experiences as you watch the beautiful Baobab trees, lemur colonies, and the beautiful landscape. Baobab trees can be seen as the class ii rapids.

  1. Ahansal River in Marrakech in Morocco

At the Ahansal River, the rafting experience begins from the cascade D’Ouzoud, a beautiful waterfall near Marrakech. This trip on the Ahansal River from the cascade D’Ouzoud will bring beautiful views of the remote villages of the Berber natives, the breathtaking gorge, and the Atlas.

It provides intermediate rapids in addition to the breathtaking nature.

  1. Doring River in South Africa

The Doring River in South Africa is also an alternative destination for these trips.

Graeme ‘Riverman’ Addison describes Doring River in Western Cape Town as “the most pristine and surprising in its grandeur”. The Doring River is a semi-arid and warm region and gets its water from winter rainfall and the snow melts on the Cape Mountains.

Cost of Whitewater Rafting

The cost of an African Whitewater rafting depends on where you have the adventure from. Below, we look at the costs of the adventure in the major African destinations.

Nile River in UgandaHalf day – $120

Full day – $135

Half day Extreme – $155

Full-day Extreme – $170

Two days experience – $250

Zambezi River at Victoria FallsAbout $ 150 per person depending on the season
Sagana/ Tana River in KenyaKsh 8,000

Note that there are offers that you may receive for a multi-day trip for your adventure.

Best Time to Go White Water Rafting in Africa

White Water Rafting

Unlike other safari activities that are possible all year round, this adventure requires a season with calmer and less cold waters for the best experiences.

In Zambia Zimbabwe and South Africa, this activity commonly occurs from August to December at the Victoria Falls. On the other hand, the East Africa side, especially in Uganda hosts the best experiences in the dry season around January to February and June to September.

During the day, it is best to have this trip during the morning glory as you watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset.

For safety purposes, most destinations do not organize the trip in the rainy season which is from around March through May and October to November. This however depends on the levels of the intensity of the white water.

7 Ultimate Tips for African Whitewater Rafting

To ensure that your Whitewater rafting adventure is memorable, comfortable, and full of fun, you need to consider many important things.

We list the most important things to consider below.

  1. Book an experienced and Professional Tour Operator

A professional tour company, experienced in organizing this trip is what you need for especially planning a fun trip. Ensure to ask questions about any inquiries and always pay attention to any safety guidelines that they give you.

  1. Pack your Most Necessary Items

It is important to park important items for your experience. For example, a camera that a friend or guide can use to take your photos. Other important things to carry include your travel documents, binoculars, insect repellent, and sunscreen, among others.

  1. Wear Appropriately for the Occasion

Likewise, dress appropriately for this adventure trip, that is a life jacket that is well-fitted on you comfortably and a helmet. If possible, we also recommend that you wear a splash jacket, wet suit, sturdy shoes, sunglasses with fastening straps, and UV protection.

  1. Stay in the boat and hold the paddle well

Although it is sometimes hard to stay in the boat due to the rapids, it is important to keep alert and paddle well especially when you guide signals to a rock collision ahead.

Also, holding the paddle as instructed is one of the safety precautions while in the rivers.

  1. Always Stay Calm and Avoid Panicking

Panicking may just cause you to make mistakes during the trip to these rivers.

  1. Always Follow your Guide’s Instructions

Before going for this experience, your guide will brief you on some guidelines to follow for your safety. You will most importantly be told some words like the “bump” and “high side” commands among others.

  1. The minimum age for whitewater rafting is 15 years while there is no maximum age, as long as the client is capable, healthy, and safe.
  2. You do not need swimming experience to explore the rivers.
  3. Using trained and professional Guides

Experienced guides must lead you through this journey, especially if you are a beginner.

Why do you need an experienced guide while whitewater rafting?

Guides will help you to steer and guide the rafts safely. The experienced guide will also show you how to use the short paddles while going for the experience.

Most importantly, the guide helps in safe white water rafting by leading the rafts in the right course. He or she also instructs you on when to peddle and when not to peddle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Country is Famous for Rafting?

In the African continent, there are two most famous destinations for white water rafting, and these are the Nile in Uganda and the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

What is the Best Place to Go Whitewater Rafting? | Where is the Best Place to Go White Water Rafting in Africa?

The best rivers to go for African Whitewater rafting include,

  1. The Nile River at the White Nile in Uganda
  2. Zambezi rafting at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambian territories
  3. Orange River that flows towards Western Cape Town in South Africa
  4. Rufigi and Sagana/Tana Rivers in Southern Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania and Kenya respectively

What is the Rafting Capital of the World?

Costa Rica is considered the white-water rafting capital of the world with various rivers for example Penas Blancas and Pacuare Rivers, among others.

What is the Most Intense Whitewater Rafting in the World? | What is the Hardest River to Raft?

The Futaleufú in Chile which has class IV and V terminator sections is considered the most dangerous for rafting.

What Class Rapids are on the Chattooga River?

This water body runs through a distance of 8 miles, covering Classes II, III, IV, V, and VI.

How Long is Whitewater Rafting Bali?

The Bali white water experience takes about 2 to 3 hours on a distance of about 17 km on the crystal clear fast rapids.

Top Rafting Safaris Companies in Africa

  1. Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd
  2. Wild Gorilla Safaris
  3. Tanzania Safaris & Tours
  4. Africa Safaris Tours
  5. Gorilla Tracking Rwanda
  6. Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Rwanda
  7. Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
  8. A Uganda Safari
  9. Safari Uganda Safaris
  10. Gorilla Safaris & Tours
  11. Gorilla Safari Rwanda

Plan Your Safari

As a reputable tour company with over 12 years of experience, we are experienced in organizing trips to different parts of the African continent. Get to discover fun experiences in different rivers during your journey in Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya, among others.

Hire with us your whitewater rafting safari for unforgettable experiences today!