South Africa Outdoor ActivitiesCanoeing in South Africa
Canoeing affords you the opportunity to simply get away from it all and spend a day winding down on one of South Africa’s many superb rivers.
Canoeing in South Africa is often underestimated as an activity. However, it offers a wide range of variations that all work towards your health and fitness as well as a chance to enjoy the excitement and fresh air of the great outdoors.
South Africa has a huge variety of rivers suitable for canoeing. KwaZulu Natal offers a vast number of rivers, lakes, dams and of course the magnificent Indian Ocean to satisfy your hunger for adventure. The Umkomaas, Umzimkulu, Mooi River, Umgeni, Thukela, Buffalo and Pongola rivers flow across the Zulu Kingdom from the high Drakensberg Mountains to the sea. These rivers provide plenty of challenges for South African canoeing enthusiasts.
For those who wish to enjoy the magnificent wildlife more, the lakes of Maputaland, Lake St Lucia, Lake Sibaya and the Kosi system allow paddlers to share the water with wildlife such as hippo and crocodile. There are also dozens of dams across KwaZulu Natal, many of which are set in nature reserves with camping and accommodation facilities. The long coastline stretching from Kosi Bay in the north to Port Edward in the south is ideal for canoeing and other water sports.
There are many companies that offer canoeing trips and packages with overnight stays on the beautiful Orange and Breede Rivers in the Western Cape. In the Eastern Cape at Sunday’s River, you can enjoy a wonderful canoeing holiday down the magnificent Sunday’s River whilst admiring the South African wildlife. Just look out for the fish that jump into your canoe!
Canoes and paddles are provided. You are given the choice between taking your luggage with you or having it transported by car to your destination spot. Magnificent wildlife, sheltered beds, a shower, and a braai (barbecue) area are awaiting you at each camp site.
If you’re keen to get involved in the excitement of canoeing in South Africa, the nearest canoeing club will be the best source of useful information, advice, equipment and encouragement. The club will probably be based close to a good stretch of water to learn the basics, and will offer the benefits of clubhouse facilities, like boat storage, change rooms and showers, as well as social facilities.
You will also need a suitable and an affordable canoe. Many clubs will gladly loan you a stable beginners canoe. You will also need some basic equipment like a paddle, splash cover and a lifejacket, which your club or local store will be glad to help you with. Soon, you will be paddling confidently and enjoying the magnificent scenery on show when you’re canoeing in South Africa.
Notable Canoe Races
Berg River Canoe Marathon
When? Anually in June / July
This is The event on the WCCU racing calendar and the flagship event. The 4 day Berg River Canoe Marathon event covers a distance of over 250km from Paarl all the way to Velddrif. A hard race not...
More info and contact details: Berg River Canoe Marathon
Duzi Canoe Marathon
When? Anually in February
The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon is a canoe race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The Dusi is run along the Msunduzi River (more commonly referred to as the Dusi / or Duzi river...
More info and contact details: Duzi Canoe Marathon
Popular Canoeing Destinations
Canoeing on the Orange River
Price Range? Price On Request
Swift River Adventures invite you to experience the Orange River running through Upington in all its glory. Our half-day river rafting trip from Upington to Oukamp, provides the ideal breakaway...
More info and contact details: Canoeing on the Orange River
Umgazana Canoe Trails
Where? Port St Johns
Price Range? R1 to R100 per person
Enjoy an early morning or afternoon canoe down the river. The Umngazana River hosts one of the largest Red Mangrove rich in birdlife. Soak up the sun as you explore this beautiful estuary. You will...
More info and contact details: Umgazana Canoe Trails