Canoeing 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.

Did you know? 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.

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.

Recommended in Canoeing

Sports & Leisure / Water Sports

Canoeing on the Sundays River

Stay? Colchester Accommodation
Paddle a canoe on the beautiful Sundays River. The Sundays River in Greater Addo is an excellent location for canoeing. Contact Bob to arrange a leisure rowing ...

Family Entertainment / Water Sports

Canoeing on the Kowie River

Stay? Port Alfred Accommodation
Hire a canoe and experience the beauty of nature while slowly paddling on the Kowie River. Kiddies canoes Paddle ski's Double canoes Single canoes Kids ...

Cruises / Water Sports

Umgazana Canoe Trails

Stay? Port St Johns Accommodation
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 ...

Cruises / Water Sports

The Kowie Canoe Trail

Stay? Port Alfred Accommodation
Canoe trails make for an ideal holiday. The Kowie Canoe Trail will lead you approximately 21kms up the river past attractions such as The Old Wreck, Windy Beach, ...

Where would you like to stay in South Africa?

Additional Reading

You might also be interested in Annual Event
  • Every year, the world’s top canoeists and teams come together to tackle the exciting Dusi Canoe Marathon, which continues to be the biggest event of its kind in all of Africa. Although it is a major challenge, this marathon is still so popular amongst sportsmen and – women, as well as their fans.

Where to enjoy Canoeing

South Africa. Explore. Experience. Stay® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.

Never miss a deal

Subscribe for the latest special offers and travel inspiration.

And, we'll send you a R200 voucher to use on your next booking.