Location: South Africa, 120 km from Johannesburg
Whitewater rafting trips on the Vaal River take place in the Parys district, in the Gauteng province of South Africa’s Northern Cape. A tributary to the Orange River, the Vaal originates in the Drakensberg Mountains in Mpumalanga, 30 km north of Clarens.
Level of Difficulty: Class III / Beginner
The Vaal River is a great introduction to whitewater rafting, with rapids that are exciting but not very serious. Most of the rapids are Class II, with a few Class IIIs interspersed for the occasional wake up call.
Canyon and Scenery: Pink Granite “Koppies”, Exotic Trees, Myriad Bird Species
The Vaal’s grey-blue waters flow swift and wide through South Africa’s Highveld, forming the border between the Vredefort Dome Conservancy and the Free State. The Vredefort Dome is the site of one of the world’s largest meteorite craters, and is home to a very unique collection of fauna and wildlife. The topography itself creates a strikingly different landscape, with steep and fractured overturned quartzite domes competing with vredefort outcrops for attention. The river itself is wide and large enough that it often travels around large, forested mid-stream islands. The rapids are exciting but not very difficult, making it easy to still take in the scenery between splashes and paddling.
The Vaal River offers rafting trips throughout the year.