Orange River Rafting, Augrabies, 28 September - 3 October '17
ENJOY A DESERT RAFTING TRIP DOWN THE SPECTACULAR ORANGE RIVER
Destination: Augrabies, Northern Cape
Dates: 28 - September - 3 October '17
Price: 3 nights / 4days rafting trip - starting @ R5 375 per person
Includes: 1st night accommodation in a guest house with dinner and 3.5 days / 3 nights on the river, all meals while on the river
Accommodation for night of 2nd optional extra @ R350 per person sharing
Optional Add-Ons: game drives, hiking, 4 x 4 trails, Augrabies Falls
The Orange River Gorge is arguably the best section of the mighty Orange River. It offers a combination of awesome scenery (highlights include the Ritchie Falls – the second highest fall on the river after Augrabies and accessible only by river or via an arduous 2 day hike) true wilderness and exciting rapids. The rapids are loads of fun with a couple of class 3+ runs to get the adrenaline flowing. You have the option of a stable raft if you are not so keen on spills - just thrills (esp. suitable for younger kids but available only at medium to high water levels). The start and end points are both on the SA side of the river so no passports are needed!
* First night at base camp & 3 nights on the river
* 3.5 Days rafting
* All meals included while on the river (legendary bush cuisine)
* Top notch equipment, world class guides and strict adherence to the APA standards e.g. a guide to client ratio of 1:8
* All inclusive from evening of arrival to morning of departure
Difficulty grading: 2 (easy)
Length: 3 days / 4 nights
Season: All year
Length of drive from Cape Town: +/- 9 hours (about 820kms)
Length of drive from JHB: * +/- 10 hours (about 1 071kms)
Operating Members of APA and guides are APA members, trained, qualified and registered with the Department of Tourism.
Gravity’s base camp, Red Rock River Camp, is set on the banks of the river and your guides will meet you here on the evening before your trip begins. There is ample grass to set up your camping spot for the night and this is also where you will leave your vehicle whilst you are on the river. There are basic ablutions, including flush loos, a bar service and easy access to the water for a refreshing dip or trying your hand at catching (and releasing) some Yellowfish.
The start and ends points are on the SA side of the river so NO border crossing or passports are required.
The trip covers just over 35kms so there is ample time to relax, read your book or explore the camp surroundings. Each trip is run as a self-contained wilderness expedition – the operator carries everything that is needed and then again everything goes back out again at the end. This trip will provide you with a complete break from reality – no electricity, cell phones, computers and no stress. It is truly an opportunity to recharge your batteries and reconnect with yourself and nature. You will make your way down river, choosing a different campsite each night. All you need to provide is your personal gear and drinks of your choice. All meals are included, as are qualified guides, boating and safety equipment. On the evening before your trip begins, you will be welcomed to the base camp by your guides. Relax and enjoy the view over the river or have a drink at the bar. You’ll enjoy a light supper under the starry night sky around the campfire. Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, your guides will give you advice on how best to pack your dry bags for your trip down river. Before getting on the water you’ll also have a thorough safety briefing and some paddling instruction.
Then, it’s time to get going for four days of relaxation and excitement! The first day’s paddling consists mainly of flowing channels and flat water ending with Scorpion. Day 2 brings bigger rapids and an evening walk to view the amazing Ritchie Falls. Day 3 is full of excitement with a challenging portage around the Falls, lowering the boats in above ‘42 man hole’, ‘Big Bunny’ and ‘Dolly Parton’ rapids. As you leave the gorge on day 4, things mellow out once again and the last section is just gentle paddle with mountains increasing in size around you. The group will be met at the take-out after lunch and transported back to base camp to enjoy a final meal around the campfire. (Above itinerary may change slightly according to trip, season and water level).
How do I get up to the river?
You can drive up in your own vehicle or we can arrange vehicle hire if required. The road is a good tar road all the way up from Cape Town and takes around 8 hours. The road is also good tar coming in from the Gauteng direction. The last section of +/- 50 kms to the camp is usually a good dirt road. This road does, however, become difficult after heavy rain (not common in this area). We recommend that you contact the Pofadder Police Station (tel: 054 933 0022) or Onseepkans Police Station (054 951 0002) to check the condition of the road and choose the alternative route if required. Full directions will be supplied on confirmation of booking. We can also make accommodation arrangements for you if you’d like to do the drive over two days. We can supply a bus and driver and fly in tours can also be arranged.
Do I need my passport?
No, you don’t. The trip starts and ends on the South African side so no border crossing is required.
What are the camping facilities like?
The base camp is centred around a farmhouse overlooking the river. Rustic ablutions and flush toilets are provided. On river, you will be free camping where all catering equipment is supplied. Tents, sleeping bags and roll mats can be rented if required.
Where do we camp on river?
Each night is at a different location on the banks of the river. You can free camp, bring a tent or hire a tents, lilo's and sleeping bags.
What do I need to bring?
A full kit list will be supplied on confirmation of booking. Remember that whatever you choose to bring will get very dirty so don’t bring your new clothes!
Will my clothes & sleeping bags get wet?
There are no guarantees on a river trip but it’s extremely unlikely - you will be supplied with a dry-bag, which will keep your clothes dry even if the bag lands in the water. You can also pack your clothes into black bags inside the dry bags to make sure. Your guides will explain to you the best way to pack your bags. Space is sufficient but limited so don’t bring too much with you.
Can I bring my camera?
Yes. Although there can be no guarantees on a river trip, we do provide watertight dry buckets for cameras, binoculars etc. It is also worth considering buying a disposable waterproof camera.
Do I need to be fit? What if I’m not a strong swimmer?
Although this is an exciting trip, the distance covered over the four days is not very long (about 30kms) so you don’t have to be an athlete to do the trip. A basic level of fitness and good health is required, though. There is no age limit but you should familiarise yourself with what the trip entails and make an informed decision on your ability to participate, based on your own fitness. Each client is issued with a PFD (’Lifejacket’) and is instructed on how to handle him or herself in the water, you don’t need to be a strong swimmer but please let us know if you are not confident in the water. There is always the option to walk around rapids you are not happy to do. You also have the option of requesting a very stable raft, which is steered by a guide.
Is it difficult to steer the boats? Will I fall out?
2 Person inflatable ‘crocs’ that are very stable and easy to paddle, even for beginners, are used. This section of river has lots of fun rapids and a few challenging runs. There is therefore quite a good chance that you’ll have at least one swim! You will be equipped with a PFD (‘lifejacket’) and will have been given instruction on exactly how to behave if you fall out of your boat. We also use only highly trained guides who will be on hand to rescue you if required. You also have the option of requesting our very stable 5-person raft, which is steered by a guide.
Is it safe? What about if I hurt myself?
Whilst there is an inherent element of risk in every adventure, running rivers with professional guides should not be considered dangerous. The guides are all trained in First Aid and carry a First Aid kit. It is your responsibility to inform the guides about any allergies or medical conditions you may have and to make sure you have any personal medication with you (e.g. asthma pumps, allergy medication etc.). This trip does take place in a remote wilderness environment but we have put plans in place to cope with any emergencies.
What about my drinks?
All meals are provded but you can bring your own choice of drinks. You will be supplied with cooler boxes but if you intend bringing a large amount of canned drinks, it is worth it to bring your own cooler box as well. It’s also a good idea to bring drink mix such as Game, which can be mixed with water - water purification tablets will be supplied.
Is the water safe to drink?
Generally, the water is clean enough to drink but we use water purification tablets to be on the safe side.
What will the weather be like?
In summer (September-April), days are very hot (30-40 degrees) and the nights are also warm. In between seasons, the days are still warm but the nights can be quite cool - a change of warm clothing and a good sleeping bag are required. In winter (June-August), days are warm (20-25 degrees) and nights are cold. The rainy season is autumn but since this is a semi-arid region, rain is not a frequent occurrence.
What will the meals be like?
All meals are prepared fresh on the river and consist of hearty, healthy main courses, followed by desert. Sundowner snacks are also served.
Why restrict group sizes?
Group sizes are limited to less than 25 per group - small groups are easier to control and, therefore, safer and the negative impact on the environment is minimised. Small group sizes also results in a better and more intimate trip for clients.
Any other restrictions?
The APA code of safety requires operators to warn you against consuming alcohol or drugs in the 8 hours preceding the trip as well as at all times on the water.
This is what your boat will look like.
Please check local conditions before setting out - although this is a semi-arid area, when rain does fall, it can cause damage to the roads