Africa isn’t what typically comes to mind when thinking of whitewater, nevertheless some of the best rapids in the world can be found in raw, wild mountains and raw landscape spread out across the continent. The preeminent rivers are not generally near the popular big game reserves, but in the lesser known countries that are just popping onto the tourist radar. Try Ethiopia and Namibia for a change. Sure Brand and Angelina go there, but it’s about time their whitewater qualities get noticed. There are beginner rivers like the Ahansal in Morocco and Class V’s like the Zambezi in Zimbabwe.
- Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
These Class V rapids near Victoria Falls are one of the most intense in the world. The expert only run has long and violent torrents, big descents, and steep gradients.
- Fish River Canyon, Windhoek, Namibia
After it drops from a plateau near Windhoek, Fish River runs for 100 miles through breathtaking rock formations. Purple, gray, and pink geological wonders are only part of what you’ll see.
- Omo River, Ethiopia
Challenging whitewater and brilliant wildlife make up this remote river in Ethiopia’s Omo canyon. Hippos, orchids, and Wolayta tribes are only part of what you will see on one of the world’s great rafting rivers.
- Blue Nile River, Ethiopia
You’ll be tossed back and forth as this river moves from mild to Class V the further it gets from Lake Tana. Fantastic scenery from waterfalls to wildlife.
- Doring River, South Africa
The short rafting season in the Western Cape is no reason to stay away from this technical run a mere three hours from Cape Town.
- Orange River, South Africa
The Orange, not far from Johannesburg and the border with Namibia, is the most popular river in South Africa. There are both beginner runs, such as the section above the Augrabies Falls, and expert runs, like those near the Gorge.
- White Nile, Uganda
Rafting in Uganda is still in its infancy, however, a Class V run at the source of the Nile is only the start of what you will discover.
- Rufiji river, Tanzania
The Rufiji is a beginner river, rising only to a Class III at the most rabid section, but you’ll enter right through the heart of the incredible Selous Game Reserve where you’ll find hippos, fine bush walking, and idyllic camp sites.
- Mangoky River, Madagascar
This calm, multi-day rafting ride will see only minimal whitewater, but will pass baobab trees, colonies of lemurs, remote villages, and other wild scenes in this nature lover’s dreamland.
- Ahansal River, Marrakech, Morocco
The Cascade D’Ouzoud, a phenomenal waterfall near Marrakech, is the starting point for these fantastic light to intermediate rapids. The High Atlas run passes gorges, around bends, and beside isolated Berber villages.