The longest river in South Africa is the Orange River which starts off life in the Drakensberg Mountains and works its way westwards to Alexander Bay and then onto the west coast of South Africa. The Orange River is some 2,200km in length considerably longer than other well-known rivers here such as the Vaal River (1,120km) and the Tugela River (502km).

The Orange River also feeds water to the Gariep Dam – the largest dam in South Africa. This huge dam is an important source of electricity able to create 360MW of electricity at its maximum output.

The river is very popular with canoeists particularly during the rainy months of March and April when the river is at its peak creating decent and plentiful rapids. Many people come here to take part in canoe expeditions paddling down the Orange River and stopping overnight along the way. For someone looking for adventure on their holiday and to experience the scenery along the river this is a true outdoor eco-experience. A number of companies offer canoeing and kayaking trips lasting just 1 day to several days.

The temperatures along the river from November to March can reach up over 40 degrees Celsius with the cooler months being April to October. The months of June to August offer slightly more pleasant temperatures of around 20 degrees during the day but obviously cooler at night.

One of the leading specialists in providing trips on the Orange River is Felix Unite who offer weekend getaways to 6 day river trips.

Another popular past-time on the Orange River is fly-fishing at the Richtersveld National Park. The best times of year for fly-fishing are August to December, May to July and mid-December to April when the river is at its highest. Fly-fishing is done on a eco-friendly catch-and-release basis but is great fun. Companies operate 1 to 5 day fly-fishing safaris camping out on the banks of the river.


Tags: adventure canoe fly-fishing gariep dam kayak rivers south africa