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Top 5 Whitewater Rafting Adventures in Africa

Africa is a hotbed of sporting adventure. From safaris to Sahara races, there is plenty to do under the blazing sun. And if you’re looking for a wild ride, whitewater rafting on one of the continent’s rivers should be at the top of your list.

Top 5 Whitewater Rafting Adventures in Africa

An Ethiopian Hippo – Credit: A. Davey

From spectacular Nile floats to the exciting, hippo-infested waters in Ethiopia, Africa offers up plenty opportunities for Grade-5 whitewater fun. Fall and winter are the best times to travel to Africa for rafting and these are some of the absolute best whitewater trips in the Motherland.

5. Ahansal River

The Ahansal River

The Ahansal River – Credit: Fraser Cairns

Looking for a taste of the exotic? Then the Ahansal River, located in Morocco, is sure to please. With a variety of rapids, there’s something for everyone. Test your paddling skills on rapids like The Wall and Rock the Casbah as you follow the bluest river in Africa along the edge of the Sahara desert. Keep your eyes peeled for the monkeys that hang out in the trees along the riverbank, pointing and chattering to one another.

  • Rapids – Grade III to Grade IV+
  • Length – 80 kilometers
  • Season – March-June

4. Molenaars River

The Molenaars River

The Molenaars River –
Credit: My Life in Water

Located about an hour outside of Cape Town, South Africa, the Molenaars is the most challenging river on the Western Cape. The Grade 4 rapids are best shot with a guide: the channels are narrow and the float is incredibly technical. However, it’s truly the experience of a lifetime. The river can only be run after a storm, so it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Are you feeling lucky?

  • Rapids – Grade II to IV+
  • Length – 7 kilometers
  • Season – June-September

3. The Omo River

The Omo River

The Omo River – Credit: Charles Roffey

The Omo River on the Sudanese border may not be the most action-packed whitewater trip, but the Grade 3+ rapids are nothing to scoff at. The most scenic trip on our list, the Omo winds through lush forests, deep canyons and natural waterslides. The jaunt even takes you through a section called “Hippo Alley.” How can you possibly go wrong with that?

  • Rapids – Grade III-III+
  • Length – 760 kilometers
  • Season – September-December

2. The Nile

A whitewater-rafting excursion to Africa wouldn’t be complete without rafting what might be the most famous river in the world. A trip down the Nile out of Jinja, Uganda will leave you too breathless to scream. Grade 5 rapids combine with flat sections for leisurely floats. Overtime, the most challenging and dangerous rapid on the river, will drop you 12 feet straight down in the time it takes your heart to skip a beat.

  • Rapids – Grade III to V
  • Length – 6,650 kilometers
  • Season – January and February, June-September

1. The Zambezi

This one is by far our favorite run! (Yes, we even offer trips!) The legendary Zambezi River offers some of the best Grade 5 rapids in the world. Come face to face with Oblivion, circle the drain in the Devil’s Toilet Bowl, and experience the craziness the locals call Morning Glory. In Africa, the rapids aren’t the only draw: be on the lookout for crocodiles and hippos!

  • Rapids – Class IV-V
  • Length – 2,700 kilometers
  • Season – September & October. January & February

An African safari is amazing and the continent’s scenery is pristine, but you can’t experience Africa at its finest without journeying down one of these exciting rivers. Once the first croc or hippo makes an appearance, you’ll see why Africa has some of the wildest rivers in the world. And don’t worry – most of the wildlife doesn’t (typically) eat humans.

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