Raap en Skraap

Additional Info

  • Difficulty grading: 2 (easy)
  • Length: 3 days / 4 nights
  • Season: All year
  • Length of drive from Cape Town: +/- 9 hours (about 820kms)
  • Length of drive from JHB: * +/- 10 hours (about 1 071kms)

Starting between Kakamas and Onseepkans in the Northern Cape, this section of the river offers a mainly flatwater, with a few small rapids and one or two bigger ones.  There are no major rapids, which makes it ideal for families with younger kids, school groups or anyone who wants a relaxed river trip with minimum thrills and spills.

We use inflatable two person boats that are easy to paddle and steer. We may also have rafts that are very stable and perfect for less confident paddlers (dependent on water level). We usually cover around 25kms during the trip so there is ample time to relax, read your book or explore the camp surroundings. If we have high water conditions, we use a higher put in point, extending the trip by another 15kms or so. Each trip is run as a self-contained expedition - we carry everything we need and take everything back out again at the end. We make our way down river, choosing a different campsite each night. All you need to provide is your personal gear and drinks of your choice.

All meals are included, as are qualified guides, groundsheets, boating and safety equipment. On the evening before your trip begins, you will be welcomed to the Raap en Skraap base camp by your guides. Relax and enjoy the view over the river. You'll enjoy a light supper under the starry night sky around the campfire. Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, your guides will give you advice on how best to pack your drybags for your trip down river. Unlike other trips, you will start with a transfer up to the put in point. (This will mean quite an early start as well as a 2.5 hour drive upstream. The advantage to this approach is that the logistics are taken care of at the start and you can then relax on river, paddling into base camp at the end of your fourth day.) Before getting on the water you'll also have a thorough safety briefing and some paddling instruction.  Then, it's time to get going for four days of relaxation and fun! The river is mainly flat open water with a few flowing channels and small rapids.

The bird life is abundant and the scenery is wild and unspoilt. This trip is not run by many other operators so you shouldn’t see any other groups on the water. Your trip will end back at Raap en Skraap where you will enjoy a final meal around the campfire. The trip can also be run over 4 days but this includes 10km of flat water which will suit some groups.


Standard packages: include qualified guides, all equipment, snacks, meals for the duration of the trip & accommodation (where applicable) and permit fees.

Standard 3 Days / 4 Nights R3950.00 pp Min: 10, Max: 24 Min: 16 in school holidays
Family Package(2 adults, 2 u/18's) 3 Days / 4 Nights R 13850.00 p/ family of 4 (save up to R1975.00)
Upgrade - all Inclusive Option 3 Days / 4 Nights From R7500.00 pp Min: 6, Max: 12
All Inclusive Option - Also includes small group size, tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, sit-down dinners, extra porter boaters etc.

Prices valid till May 2016. Ask us about our group and out of season discounts!

Q & A’s

Are you a member of the African Paddling Association?

Yes, we are Operating Members of APA and our guides are APA members, trained, qualified and registered with the Department of Tourism.

How do I get up to the river?

You can drive up in your own vehicle or we can arrange vehicle hire if required. The road is a good tar road all the way up from Cape Town and takes around 8 hours. The road is also good tar coming in from the Gauteng direction. The last section of +/- 50 kms to the camp is usually a good dirt road. This road does, however, become difficult after heavy rain (not common in this area). We recommend that you contact the Pofadder Police Station (tel: 054 933 0022) or Onseepkans Police Station (054 951 0002) to check the condition of the road and choose the alternative route if required. Full directions will be supplied on confirmation of booking. We can also make accommodation arrangements for you if you’d like to do the drive over two days. We can supply a bus and driver and fly in tours can also be arranged.

Do I need my passport?

No, you don’t. The trip starts and ends on the South African side so no border crossing is required.

What are the camping facilities like?

Our base camp is centred around a farmhouse overlooking the river. Rustic ablutions and flush toilets are provided. On river, we’ll be free camping where all catering equipment is supplied. Tents,sleeping bags and roll mats can be rented if required.

Where do we camp on river?

We camp each night at a different location on the banks of the river. You can free camp, bring a tent or hire one of our tents, lilo's and sleeping bags. Below is a picture of the tents we use, they are basic two man tents which are compact and light when packing.

What do I need to bring?

A full kit list will be supplied on confirmation of booking. Remember that whatever you choose to bring will get very dirty so don’t bring your new clothes!

Will my clothes & sleeping bags get wet?

There are no guarantees on a river trip but it’s extremely unlikely - you will be supplied with a dry-bag, which will keep your clothes dry even if the bag lands in the water. You can also pack your clothes into black bags inside the dry bags to make sure. Your guides will explain to you the best way to pack your bags. Space is sufficient but limited so don’t bring too much with you.

Can I bring my camera?

Yes. Although there can be no guarantees on a river trip, we do provide watertight dry buckets for cameras, binoculars etc. It is also worth considering buying a disposable waterproof camera.

Do I need to be fit? What if I’m not a strong swimmer?

Although this is an exciting trip, the distance covered over the four days is not very long (about 30kms) so you don’t have to be an athlete to do the trip. A basic level of fitness and good health is required, though. There is no age limit but you should familiarise yourself with what the trip entails and make an informed decision on your ability to participate, based on your own fitness. Each client is issued with a PFD (’Lifejacket’) and is instructed on how to handle him or herself in the water, you don’t need to be a strong swimmer but please let us know if you are not confident in the water. There is always the option to walk around rapids you are not happy to do. You also have the option of requesting a very stable raft, which is steered by a guide.

Is it difficult to steer the boats? Will I fall out?

We use 2 person inflatable ‘crocs’ that are very stable and easy to paddle, even for beginners. This section of river has lots of fun rapids and a few challenging runs. There is therefore quite a good chance that you’ll have at least one swim! You will be equipped with a PFD (‘lifejacket’) and will have been given instruction on exactly how to behave if you fall out of your boat. We also use only highly trained guides who will be on hand to rescue you if required. You also have the option of requesting our very stable 5-person raft, which is steered by a guide

Is it safe? What about if I hurt myself?

Whilst there is an inherent element of risk in every adventure, running rivers with our professional guides should not be considered dangerous. Our guides are all trained in First Aid and we carry a First Aid kit. It is your responsibility to inform the guides about any allergies or medical conditions you may have and to make sure you have any personal medication with you (e.g. asthma pumps, allergy medication etc.). This trip does take place in a remote wilderness environment but we have put plans in place to cope with any emergencies.

What about my drinks?

Gravity provides all meals but you can bring your own choice of drinks. We will supply you with cooler boxes but if you intend bringing a large amount of canned drinks, it is worth it to bring your own cooler box as well. It’s also a good idea to bring drink mix such as Game, which can be mixed with water - water purification tablets will be supplied.

Is the water safe to drink?

Generally, the water is clean enough to drink but we use water purification tablets to be on the safe side.

What will the weather be like?

In summer (September-April), days are very hot (30-40 degrees) and the nights are also warm. In between seasons, the days are still warm but the nights can be quite cool - a change of warm clothing and a good sleeping bag are required. In winter (June-August), days are warm (20-25 degrees) and nights are cold. The rainy season is autumn but since this is a semi-arid region, rain is not a frequent occurrence.

What will the meals be like?

We pride ourselves on providing our clients with the best in bush cuisine. All meals are prepared fresh on the river and consist of hearty, healthy main courses, followed by desert. Sundowner snacks are also served.

Why restrict group sizes?

We generally limit our group sizes to less than 25 per group - small groups are easier to control and, therefore, safer and the negative impact on the environment is minimised. Finally, we have found that a small group size results in a better and more intimate trip for our clients.

Any other restrictions?

The APA code of safety requires us to warn you against consuming alcohol or drugs in the 8 hours preceding the trip as well as at all times on the water.

This is what your boat will look like.

We recommend that you check local conditions before setting out - although this is a semi-arid area, when rain does fall, it can cause damage to the roads. Pofadder Police: tel: 054 933 0022 or Onseepkans Police Station 054 951 0002. Gravity: 021 683 3698


More Questions? Give us a call!

Tel: (021) 683 3698, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it