On a trip up the Orange River, your adventurous soul will be spoiled for choice. There are so many thrilling experiences to enjoy and river rafting is definitely one of them. If you love a good laugh, some fun in the sun and water sports, of course, then a family trip to the Northern Cape is a really good idea.
As much as you think you can conquer it all, there are several safety precautions to learn before you get into a river raft. Mother nature can change things up in the blink of an eye, so in these moments you need to know what to do and how to control yourself and your family. Here are a few safety tips:
To make the most of your river rafting experience, you need to learn more about the sport. Do some research before you arrive, as something as ‘easy’ as this could land you up in danger. Depending on the location, season and river flow, you’ll either have some really rough waters or it could be calm and relaxing. Either way, both are fun situations to endure, but when the river has a higher volume, things could become more challenging. This is why it’s important to educate yourself about the sport.
When you strengthen your endurance levels, you will be able to take on more adventure. Like all water sports, you need to be fit and you need to be able to swim properly. Depending on the level of seriousness of your trip, you might want to spend some time in the water getting to know the current and the location before you get into a raft. For amateurs, a river rafting experience can be just as fun as long as you know what you’re doing and how to protect yourself if something were to happen.
The Orange River offers a variety of accommodation spots that will help you stretch out your stay. (You can find some options on this website: www.countryhotelssa.co.za.) If you’re fortunate enough to spend a long time on the river, you can also ease yourself into rafting. Save the longer river rafting trips for another day, as they usually require more upper body strength and can be exhausting. Don’t ruin your whole trip because of one full day’s worth of paddling. Rather spread things out and make it a fun-filled experience.
It’s important to work with a company that offers you the correct equipment and clothing needed to successfully enjoy your water adventure. There are usually guides that will explain the sport to you and guide you through the basics of how things work. For example, when to lean to the left, paddle or stop paddling. It’s important to listen to these experienced individuals as they know what to expect and how to help you. If things get rocky out there, people tend to panic and do the wrong movements, so make sure you listen carefully and are fully aware and comfortable before getting into your raft.
This is a serious tip and should not be overlooked. Never go alone and use the buddy-system at all times. Even if it’s calm water, do not go alone because if something happens, you won’t be able to seek help.
This may sound like an obvious safety point but it is definitely worth mentioning. For families or friends who are going to the Orange River for a celebratory holiday, please be cautious and don’t make silly decisions. As much as you want to make the most of your experience, you need to be safe and alert. You will not only be risking your own life but also everyone else's who is in the raft with you. This particular sport is already an adrenaline activity so you don’t want to take your rush overboard.
No matter how great or inexperienced you consider yourself to be, it is important to wear the correct clothing (helmet and life jacket) at all times. Water shoes are highly recommended, and everything should fit comfortably and should be buckled up at all times. These items should not restrict your movements or paddling. If you are wearing something that does not feel right, change it out immediately.
Last but not least, have fun and make memories. These safety tips make everything sound more intense and concerning than they are, simply because there needs to be safety measures in place should something happen. If your fellow rafters fall into the water, help them up and make sure everyone is safe and protected. Stay hydrated and don’t forget your sunblock.