Whitewater rafting travel guide, including top whitewater rafting travel experiences, tips for whitewater rafting, plus where to enjoy the best rafting adventur
Running the rapids of one the planet�s iconic rivers � the Zambezi, say, or the Colorado � ranks as one of the great travel experiences. But as high-octane sports go, rafting requires surprisingly little experience or training, bar the ability to swim � so it�s accessible to almost all of us.
Rapids are graded according to a system that�s fairly standard all over the world, rated from Class I � small rough areas, no manoeuvring required � to Class VI, with huge waves and hidden rocks, making it virtually unraftable. But though the chances of getting a dunking rise with the class, many rivers featuring even Class IV+ or V rapids can be tackled by near novices accompanied by an experienced team.
Good outfits will supply you with a lifevest, helmet and proper training; you�ll also have at least one experienced guide, who�ll steer and yell encouragement (or last-gasp entreaties to paddle to avert a capsize), and one or more support kayaks to help anyone who does take a tumble. Mostly it�s a case of paddling hard when told, and being ready to get wet.
With raftable rapids all over the planet, you�re never far from a memorable whitewater adventure.
The Zambezi, rushing through the gorges beneath Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, offers rafters the chance to tackle some terrifying-sounding rapids (with names such as Oblivion, The Muncher, and Gnashing Jaws of Death�) Elsewhere in Africa, the White Nile is another popular artery.
In the US, the Colorado River churns through Utah and Arizona � you can drop in on its white waters around Moab in Utah, or along the Grand Canyon. Further south, Costa Rica�s Pacuare River, Peru�s Urubamba and Patagonia�s Futaleuf� all lure rafters.
Asia�s no slouch, either � raftable sections dash through the Himalaya, notably in Nepal, which boasts several great whitewater experiences. Over in New Zealand, South Island�s Karamea is a serious challenge, while the Franklin River in Tasmania�s south-west wilderness is an unforgettable multi-day adventure.
Wherever you paddle, you�ll discover an alternative perspective on some of the planet�s most dramatic landscapes.
You don�t need to be super-fit to raft, but a degree of torso and arm strength will help you paddle and increase enjoyment.
Take a fully sealable drybag, if one isn�t provided by your rafting operator � you�ll need to protect your camera and any other kit you want to keep dry!
Remember to apply and reapply sunscreen � it can easily get washed off, and glare from the water can burn facial skin even under hats.