If you’re looking for a true South African adventure then head to the Orange River — the longest river in South Africa. The river runs from the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho and flows westwards through South Africa until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way you’ll find a variety of really cool things to do and see — making this area of South Africa well loved amongst travelers and locals.
1. Endless River Rafting
Whether you’re visiting for a day or doing a week-long adventure, river rafting is a must along the Orange River. Most accommodation options do offer canoes to rent, and one of the best companies to go with is Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails.
Head to the banks of the Gariep Dam and go glamping at Orange River Tented Camps. It’s overlooking the Orange River and has a series of private, luxury safari tents with power, platforms and even hot showers. Travelers love escaping to the middle of nowhere and still having all the comforts that these camps offer.
3. Visit Augrabies Falls
Augrabies Falls is 56m powerful waterfall that is best viewed when the Orange River is at full capacity. Feel its power from a lookout deck or just listen to its thunder as it crashes to the ground below.
4. Roughing It
Travelers love to rough it in Africa and there is no better place to do so than along the Orange River. Camping (or glamping if you prefer), river rafting, and cooking your food on an open fire is what visiting the Orange River is all about.
5. Hot Air Ballooning
Float above the Orange River and Augrabies Falls National Park in a hot air balloon. There’s no better way to see the amazing vineyards, magnificent Orange River and the beautiful landscapes of the Northern Cape than by hot air balloon. Head out with Experience Northern Cape for this magical experience.
6. The Complete Silence
Besides the sounds of flowing water, birds and other animals, you won’t hear much else while visiting the Orange River. Travelers love escaping the city and taking in the complete silence of nature.
7. Checking Out Oranje Kom
Travelers love the stunning viewpoints that they get of the massive gorge area below. The area is home to a large otter population as well as eagles.
8. Fishing For Carp
The Orange River is a perfect place for a fishing weekend. Travelers love hiring some fishing gear and spending endless days catching carp, yellowtail and mud fish.
9. Going On An Aqua Trail
Travelers love doing a multi-day trip down the Orange River where they can raft with experienced guides. To do it yourself, go with Dirty Boots on their aqua trail. The trip usually lasts four days and covers around 60km of river.
There are several great places to go camping along the Orange River. Richtersveld Wilderness Camp caters for those who just want to pitch a tent and settle for the night, or even sleep under the stars.
11. Taking A Dip In The River
When the days get super hot, travelers enjoy nothing more than taking a dip in the waters of the Orange River. Taking a swim is only for strong swimmers as the river is constantly flowing. Even though it’s super refreshing, travelers should always remember that safety comes first.
There’s something about the Orange River that makes travelers feel like proper explorers. The fresh air, lack of cell phone reception and sound of rushing water makes travelers want to get out there and just explore.
13. The Sunrises
One of the best things about being in Africa that travelers never forget are the stunning sunrises — and along the Orange River, in the middle of nowhere, they are so much more stunning. It’s worth it to wake up a few hours earlier and witness this amazing natural beauty.
14. Visiting Moon Rock
This prominent landmark at Augrabies Falls is a massive exfoliation dome. Travelers enjoy walking to the summit where they can get some of the best views of the park and its surroundings.
15. The Wildlife
Again, this is Africa. And in Africa, travelers love to see wildlife in the wild. The Orange River is an area packed with rock hyrax, Broadley’s flat lizard, klipspringer and Hartmann’s mountain zebra.
This article was originally published on April 13, 2015.