Our favourite paddle locations in South Africa
South Africa has a diverse geography with various climate zones, leading to a variety of rivers & waterways. The country experiences both Mediterranean and tropical climates, which support different types of vegetation, resulting in diverse river ecosystems. Additionally, the country's geology and topography, with different rock formations, mountains and valleys, also contribute to the diversity of its rivers. South Africa is unique in that it offers opportunities for fishing, bird watching and wildlife viewing when paddling its different river & estuary systems.
Here are our favorite spots to explore:
Tsitsikamma National Park in Western Cape
One of the best locations in South Africa for a paddle trip would be the Garden Route, specifically in the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve where you'll explore the Storms River gorge. It offers scenic paddling routes through indigenous forests, serene pools, and deep caves.
St. Lucia estuary in KwaZulu-Natal
Paddling the scenic canoe/kayak trails through the estuary you will see a diverse range of wildlife, including over 400 bird species and a variety of reptiles, mammals and fish. The mangroves and wetlands, provide important habitats for wildlife.
The Orange River in the Northern Cape
While paddling the Orange River in the Northern Cape, you can expect to experience the scenic beauty of the surrounding desert landscape. A peaceful, serene environment with the sounds of the river and surrounding wildlife, such as baboons, kudus, and various bird species. There are opportunities for fishing, camping, and other recreational activities. Warning though: potentially challenging rapids and currents, making it suitable for experienced paddlers.
Breede River in the Western Cape
Paddling the Breede River in the Western Cape gives you a completely different experience with the scenic beauty of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. Along your route, you may see a variety of wildlife, including fish, otters, and bird species. Mild currents, make it suitable for beginner to intermediate paddlers.
With beauty comes dangers. Always consider various factors such as weather conditions, water currents, and presence of marine animals. It is recommended to take necessary precautions and follow safety guidelines when engaging in water activities, especially in areas with strong currents or presence of potentially dangerous marine life such as crocodiles, hippos, sharks or jellyfish. Additionally, it is also advised to check local weather forecasts and water conditions before embarking on a paddling trip, and to always paddle with a partner.