Learn About Amazing Kayaking and Rafting Safaris

Introduction

Rafting and kayaking offer a unique perspective on the wilderness that cannot be matched by any other activity. While activities like hiking and riding give you a sense of autonomy, rafting requires you to collaborate with other people to navigate the churning rapids of the river. Rafting trips lasting multiple days are open to people with no prior experience as well as seasoned paddlers. Knowledgeable guides provide insight into the challenges rivers face and encourage tourists to take action to protect them for the benefit of future generations.

Any trip that involves rafting and kayaking will inevitably include some exciting rapids. Because there is only one course that the river can take, everyone must simply go with the current. You will quickly become close with the other people paddling with you as well as your guide, which is another fact that can be relied upon. Not only do you need each other to get to your destination, but you also divide up the responsibilities of setting up camp on the riverbank and getting to know each other in the evenings while sitting around the fire. Rafting and kayaking are such fun and social experiences you can do to explore the wilderness. 

What are Kayaking and Rafting?

Kayaking and rafting are some of the most popular ways for thrill-seekers to spend their time on the water. Even though both appear to be similar, it would appear that they are quite distinct from one another. Both of these pursuits offer their participants unique excitements and fans. However, neither of these terms can be substituted for the other. If you examine both of these sports in great detail, you will notice that there is a significant difference between them. Right down to the type of boat that was used and the body of water that was selected.

Rafting

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Rafting is the activity of traveling through bodies of water while riding on rafts that have been inflated. The fact that the boat travels at a more leisurely pace makes it more appealing to typical tourists who have less experience on the water. Because of its larger size and increased passenger capacity, the rafting boat is the vessel of choice for families and other small groups.

Rafting through white waters is a sport that is conducted with high regard for safety, even though it may appear to be hazardous. A significant distinction between kayaking and rafting is that the former involves a greater element of danger than the latter does. The inflatable boats are made with the most recent manufacturing technology, which helps the boats withstand any damage caused by wear and tear along the journey. The carbon paddles that are used to row through the waters have been designed with the appropriate proportions to make rowing simpler and more natural. In addition, to ensure that each rider is protected from injury, they are required to put on life jackets and helmets before beginning the ride. If you want to travel down a river with a bunch of your friends and have a good time doing it, rafting is your best bet.

When going rafting, it is essential to select the body of water you will be paddling on based on the level of experience you possess. The rivers that are used for rafting are broken up into different classes according to how challenging they are to navigate through. If you are just starting, it is best to choose a class one stream, which is defined as a moving body of water with waves that are not too severe and that only lightly impact the boat. With your experience in rafting, you can raise the difficulty level of the body of water. Any experienced whitewater rafter’s dream is to be swept away by raging rapid waters and carried away forever.

Kayaking

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Paddling through the water in a small boat known as a kayak while using a paddle with two blades constitutes the activity known as kayaking. Because of its size, the boat cannot accommodate a large number of passengers. Rowing a kayak can be done solo or by two people, and it is one of the most popular activities for tourists who like to be by themselves in the wilderness. Kayaking, on the other hand, is done in an elongated boat that is thinner and carries a smaller number of people than rafting does, which takes place on an inflatable raft designed to carry multiple people at the same time down in the wild waters.

There are many different approaches to kayaking that one can take, depending on their particular interests. You can ride through any shallow backwaters or lagoons, or you can just move along the flow of a river if you want to float through the water without disturbing anyone else and enjoy the peace that is all around you. You have the option of paddling your kayak through rapid waters that feature obstacles such as waterfalls, rocks, and other obstacles if your goal is to have an adventure by yourself or with a companion who has a similar goal in mind. You secretly hope that your boat gets flipped over by the raging waters so that you can start the ride all over again.

Kayaking is the activity to participate in if a person wants to feel a sense of peace and get closer to nature; on the other hand, rafting is the activity to engage in if a person is looking for a sport that will provide them with a high level of excitement and excitement. Because both of these sports require a significant amount of cooperation and coordination from participants, they are frequently utilized as team-building activities during business retreats. Because of the immense excitement and thrill they provide, these two types of water sports should be on the bucket list of every person who enjoys being outdoors.

Rafting Safari Destination

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1. The Nile, Jinja, Uganda

Jinja, which can be found in Uganda on the coast of Lake Victoria, is fondly referred to as the “Adventure Capital of East Africa.” Because of its proximity to the Nile’s headwaters, whitewater rafting is a particularly thrilling activity in this region. The Nile here is an excellent example of a pool-drop river. There are some intense rapids interspersed with some stretches of peace. Because islands in the middle of the river create a multitude of different channels of varying strengths, your whitewater guide will be able to lead you on a route that is appropriate for your level of comfort with danger.

Whitewater rafting excursions in the region of Jinja typically last anywhere from a half day to two days and may include Class 3 to Class 5 rapids. But many options are less intense.

The following are potential highlights of whitewater rafting in Jinja:

  • Bujagali Falls is a place where one major rapid is immediately followed by another in quick succession.
  • Wildwaters Reserve is a place that not only safeguards the rare plants and animals that live on the Nile’s mid-stream islands but also offers more opportunities for nature observation in the calmer stretches of the river although it is home to some of the Nile’s most thrilling rapids.
  • The infamous “Nile Special,” also known as “The Special,” is a surf wave that attracts professional adventure kayakers from all over the world.

2. Sagana (Tana) River, Kenya

Sagana River is the name given to the section of the Tana River that flows through the Central Highlands of Kenya. The Tana River is the longest in Kenya. The level of difficulty of its rapids ranges from Class 2 to Class 5, and it varies from season to season.

The town of Sagana, which is approximately a two-hour drive from Ol Pejeta Conservancy, serves as the jumping-off point for whitewater adventures in this region. Because of its central location, it is the perfect starting point for either a day trip or a longer excursion spanning multiple days.

The Sagana River can be rafted during both the low-water and high-water seasons; during the low season, the course is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) long, whereas, during the high season, it is approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) long.

3. Rufiji River, Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

The catchment area covered by the Rufiji (Rufigi) River and all of its tributaries is the largest in all of East Africa. Its section in the southern Selous Game Reserve is ideal for first-timers and provides an outstanding method for viewing games, particularly during Tanzania’s dry season, which runs from June until October. Those who are new to the sport of whitewater rafting and are looking for an exciting challenge should wait until after the rains to attempt the Class 3 rapids.

4. Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe

Rapids that are worthy of the name Victoria Falls are produced by one of the world’s largest waterfalls, which also happens to be one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

A whitewater rafting trip that begins in the basin of Victoria Falls and includes many Class 5 rapids is a great way to get closer to the falls than you ever thought possible. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe serve as departure points for these vacations, which are offered during the months of August through December when the waters are at their calmest and lowest.

Whitewater rafting trips on the Victoria Falls River begin approximately 6 miles downstream, as the water level rises and speeds up. Depending on how much it rains, the best times to go high-water rafting are typically in the months of January and February, as well as June and July. Due to safety concerns, whitewater rafting is not permitted from approximately the beginning of March until the beginning of June.

Whitewater rafting can be enjoyed throughout the year at Batoka Gorge, which is located just 45 kilometers (28 miles) downstream of Victoria Falls. The Batoka Gorge is widely regarded as one of the best places to go whitewater rafting in the world. It has rapids ranging from Class 3 to Class 5. The months of July through January correspond to the low water season, while the months of February through June make up the high water season.

The majority of tourists go on rafting excursions that last between a few hours and a half days at most. The journey from Batoka Gorge to Lake Kariba can also be done over the course of multiple days.

5. Orange River, South Africa

The Orange River, which flows through South Africa, is the country’s longest river. It is also referred to as the Gariep River and isAngqu. It is known for its beautiful scenery and an array of rapids suitable for beginners and experienced rafters alike, and it cuts across the northern part of the country in the mountainous desert of the Richtersveld.

You can spend an afternoon paddling down a stretch of the river, or you can embark on a multi-day journey beginning at the Orange River’s origin in the Drakensberg Mountains and proceeding westward toward the Atlantic Ocean.

In the more tranquil areas, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife, including klipspringers, baboons, fish eagles, monitor lizards, and many colorful species of egrets and herons. Succulent plants are endemic to this region of the world and can only be found here.

When it rains in the mountains, the river picks up speed and volume, making for some of the most exciting conditions for rafting in the months of March and April.

Kayak Safari Destination

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1. Tanzania’s Rufiji River

The Rufiji River is widely regarded as one of the continent’s finest kayaking destinations.

The waters of the Kilomero and Luwegu Rivers meet and combine to form the Rufiji River. This is the place where the Rufiji River is born. The Rufiji River is the longest in Tanzania. It begins its journey in the southwest of the country and eventually flows into the Indian Ocean.

Some of the most beautiful and productive animal safari lands in the world can be found in the region surrounding the Rufiji. In addition to this, the mangrove forest that is found along the Rufiji River is the largest on the entire planet.

Be on the lookout for animals and birds congregating along the riverbanks as you paddle through the Selous Game Reserve. This can be done by keeping your eyes peeled. In this place, which is home to the largest elephant family on the entire planet, you can expect to see plenty of pachyderms.

2. Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Are you torn between going on an authentic African safari and going on a canoeing or kayaking trip instead? If this is the case, the Okavango Delta provides the optimal solution. The Okavango Delta is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site that is renowned for its abundance of wildlife and stunning natural scenery.

It floods the savannah, bringing the land water that is essential to life and bringing together herds of animals. Because of this, it is the largest inland delta on the entire planet.

The Okavango Delta is home to several endangered animal and plant species, including:

  • African wild dogs
  • White rhinos
  • Black rhinos
  • Cheetahs

3. South Africa’s Buffalo River

At one time, the British colony of Natal and the kingdom of Zululand were separated by the Buffalo River, which served as the border between the two. While paddling along this river, you’ll get to see a lot of interesting historical sites. The Tugela River, of which it is a tributary, is known for having some challenging rapids.

This teeny-tiny nook of Zululand is home to some of the most exhilarating rapids that can be found anywhere in South Africa. The route is approximately 19 kilometers long and winds through several private game reserves. Along the way, you will have breathtaking views of various animals and birds.

4. White Nile, Uganda

There is a segment of the White Nile River in Uganda that is 25 kilometers long and runs from just above Lake Victoria to the town of Jinja. Kayakers can’t get enough of this section of the river. This is because it contains a multitude of Class V rapids.

Kayakers with more experience will find that the numerous waterfall drops and crashing waves seem to defy the laws of physics, and this will get their hearts racing.

But Uganda is not just the frantic, green waves of the White Nile; there is much more to the country than that. When it comes to viewing African wildlife, Uganda is a breathtaking destination. When you’re not dodging waves and rocks, keep your eyes peeled for the animals and birds that live in the area.

5. Kenya’s Mathioya River

Kayakers and rafters with significant experience are in for the thrill of their lives on the Mathioya River. It features a collection of Kenya’s most difficult whitewater rafting courses and has a total descent of more than 450 meters over the course of only 22 kilometers.

The water turns out to not be particularly large. But you shouldn’t be fooled by that. This section of the river is not suitable for novice paddlers due to its low volume and the presence of advanced rapids (up to grade 4).

Those who have been on the river before, however, will appreciate the eight kilometers of almost continuous Class IV white water action. Additionally, if you are interested in kayaking in Africa, this is the best location for you to go.

Tips for Safe Rafting and Kayaking

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The following are some essential pointers that will help you prepare for your next kayaking and rafting trip, including what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect.

1. Wear the appropriate attire

Even though you may have every intention of remaining in the boat throughout the entirety of the trip, there is still a possibility that you will get wet. You should prepare for your trip to involve getting wet and wearing clothes that are both waterproof and anti-chafing so that they can serve as a barrier between you and the raft.

Cotton should be avoided because it can take a long time to dry and it draws heat away from the body. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are wonderful because of their rapid drying times.

When it comes to footwear, it is best to err on the side of shoes like enclosed shoes that have laces, such as Dunlop volleys. If you happen to slip and fall into the water, your thongs or flip-flops may become dislodged.

You may have the opportunity to bring wetsuits with you, depending on the forecast for the weather and the temperature. These will not only give you an advantage when it comes to buoyancy, but they will also shield you from the colder temperatures of the water and the colder months.

2. Wear a helmet

Place a high priority on your safety during every one of our rafting excursions, it is best that you at all times wear protective gear, including helmets. If you were to fall in the water and hit your head on one of the many rocks, logs, or branches that are buried beneath the surface of the water, that is an experience that we would like to help you avoid. Always make sure you have your helmet on so you can reduce the chances of getting hurt.

3. Pack lightly

In addition to making sure you are dressed appropriately, you should also keep your packing list to a minimum so that none of your belongings are lost or damaged. Bring along some bottled water, sunscreen that is waterproof, and a disposable camera that is also waterproof. If you bring valuables with you, such as your phone or wallet, be sure to put them in a bag that is watertight before you set them down.

4. Master the T-Grip

It is essential to have a T-grip on your paddle because it prevents the paddle from slipping out of your hands and causing you or your rafting companions to strike themselves or each other in the head or chest. The part of the paddle that looks like a “T” and is made of hard plastic is called the T-grip, and it is located at the end of the paddle. At the beginning of your rafting trip, your guides will demonstrate the T-Grip. However, in essence, one hand should always be at the base of the paddle on the shaft, and the other hand should always be over the T-grip. This helps to ensure that you maintain control of the paddle and cushions any blows that you or your rafting companions might receive if something unexpected happens.

5. Choose the best time to raft and kayak

Before you plan your next trip river rafting, make sure you take into account everyone’s ability level and skill level. Rapids and water levels are subject to change from one month to the next. It is common for the water levels to be at their highest at the beginning of the season due to the fresh snowmelt. Trips that involve rafting or kayaking are best planned for the months of May and June, especially for experienced rafters and thrill-seekers. Because the water levels are lower during the months of July and August, rafting is an activity that is more suitable for novices as well as families with younger children.