I’d never paddled a river before nor experienced the Orange River Rafting Adventure thrill of white water rafting. I’ve seen photos and heard a few stories, but never imagined I’d ever have the opportunity to actually do the Orange River.. Then just like that I found myself packing a bag, watching videos and reading whatever I could find about rivers and rapids. I was going, doing it, finally. It was hard to contain my excitement (and nerves). As the moments drew nearer I knew my life was about to change, forever.
The day finally arrived and I was headed north to the quaint little community of Onseepkans in the Northern Cape. It was hot but oh so beautiful. Wide-open space, fresh air.. I felt free. All guests were met by the amazing river guides with a very warm welcome. The group instantly felt relaxed and knew I was in very good hands. The afternoon was super awesome. There is an easy paddle on the river after lunch, a laid-back late afternoon catnap, a breathtaking sunset, and a wonderful dinner to round off a great first day.
Day two began with a lovely breakfast and some much-needed coffee. The guides were already busy breaking down camp and prepping to load the boats. After all was done, we had an informative (and humorous) safety briefing and hit the river. The day went well. Stunning scenery, fun rapids, lots of swimming and plenty wildlife to see. There’s a lot to take in. We stopped for an awesome lunch along the way and arrived at our next campsite at what’s called The Gorge, on the Namibian side. One word: stunning. Real wild camping, no question. After settling in we were treated to a great dinner, crazy stories around the campfire and the most amazing stars I’ve ever seen. I slept really really well. So peaceful, this place!
As day three dawned, the guides (real busy bees), we’re already setting up breakfast, packing boats and boiling water for our coffee. We went for a short hike to a gorgeous viewpoint to have a look at the famous Big Bunny rapid. It was (is) spectacular. We were educated about the geology of the area and even posed for a great photo. All was packed up at camp, and the boats were being lowered down into the water below. We did a short paddle upstream to admire a rather dramatic waterfall before drifting back downstream and beaching our boats to scout Big Bunny. This rapid is huge, fast and loads of fun. Such a rush.
Hats off to the guides. They have nerves of steel but clearly know what they’re doing, no doubt. I always felt safe. After conquering our fears, taming the river, we spent the rest of the afternoon slowly drifting downstream to our final campsite. A long stretch of beach where the fishing was on point. Dinner was served with what has to be the tastiest pot stew (potjie & pap) I’ve ever eaten, with desert! I eventually dozed off after a busy day, dreaming of rapids and canyons,
Our final day started off with a huge breakfast. Bacon, eggs, sausage.. the whole nine yards. These guys are very creative when it comes to cooking. No lie, the food on this trip has to be five stars all the way. Hunger was no issue at all. If anything I think I’ve picked up a kilo or two. We climbed into breakfast, broke down camp and jumped into our boats for the last hour downstream to where our vehicles were safely parked on day one.
It was hard to say goodbye and even harder to accept that all was over and done. The drive home left me thinking about everything I’d just done – an experience of a lifetime. I’d made great new friends, seen some wonderful things, laughed hard, admired the rugged beauty of Mother Nature and ultimately conquered rapids, and earned my river stripes. I still find myself daydreaming, reminiscing, longing to go back and do it again! Would I go tomorrow if I had the chance? In a heartbeat. I’ll never forget the Orange River and her majestic white waters. Sa Forest Adventures has incredible guides who brought this adventure to life. I felt a sense of belonging and my humble humiliation in what has to be God’s special little corner of creation. The Orange River Rafting Adventure was for sure a Bucket List Adventure and I would recommend it to all.