This much fun should be illegal

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Doring river whitewater rafting

Roaring rapids. River views. Rising waters. Days of adventure await on the Doring river.

If there’s one thing to get stoked about this year, it’s a cracking good whitewater rafting experience. You’re bound to leave with a more than a satisfied grin at the end. And no, you don’t need previous paddling experience. A reasonable fitness level will do just fine.

Carving an energetic path between the Cederberg and Swartruggens mountain ranges, the 65-km Doring river is a winter rafting run. Although the waves can be big, advanced navigation isn’t really needed.

Choose between a 2-day and 1-night excursion, or for double the fun, a 3-day and 2-night adventure. Minimum group size is 12, with a maximum group size of 20. You don’t need to pack much: only your personal camping gear, a wetsuit (or you can hire one) and drinks of choice. All meals are included from lunch on Saturday to lunch on Sunday, as are qualified guides, plus boating and safety equipment.

Kick off

Starting on a Saturday morning after breakfast at Papkuilsfontein near Clanwilliam, guides will shuttle you to the expedition starting point. Kitted out with a lifejacket and a wetsuit, you’ll then gear up for the trip in stable, inflatable two-person ‘crocs’. Prepare for exhilarating class 3 – 4 rapids with names like The Plunge, House, Krantz, Island and Tooth.

On calmer waters, the adrenaline rush mellows while you float past towering koppies and sandstone mountain escarpments in colourful contrast to the blues of river and sky.

According to Marie-Louise Kellett of Gravity Adventures, there’s a good chance that you’ll have at least one swim while on the Doring! “But we brief our paddlers very well on what to do when falling out of the boat. In addition, our highly trained guides are always on hand to rescue someone if needed.” Should you not fancy a chilly swim, the choice is yours if you’d rather walk around the rapid to meet the group beyond.

Bush bliss

After a day of communion with the water, you’ll be treated to a wilderness camping experience on the grassy river bank. Oh for the joys of wild camping! Doctors definitely should prescribe this.

However, if sleeping under the stars ain’t your thing, there are dome tents for hire too. And for those who are partial to indoor plumbing and life’s comforts, there’s the option to stay in Oudrif Lodge’s straw bale cottages or at Bushmanskloof – for an added fee.

To replenish and revive, hearty bush cuisine – complete with dessert and hot chocolate – awaits. Then with hearts and tums full, it’s off to dreamland.

Days 2 (and 3 for those on the lengthier trip) offer pretty much more of the same feisty whitewater, but by now you’ll be quite the pro in navigating your way down the muscular Doring.

Cost
2 days: R3,150 pp + R150 for first night’s s/c camping; 3 days: R3 950 pp + R150 for first night’s s/c camping. Wetsuit hire is R200.

Book: Gravity Adventures 021 6833698, adventure@gravity.co.za