|Where:||Onseepkans, N Cape|
|Distance covered||30km over 3 days|
|Difficulty:||Class 2/3 – Suitable for all skill levels & ages.|
|Season:||All year round|
Starting near Pofadder in the Northern Cape, this section of the river offers a mainly flatwater trip, with a few small rapids and an abundance of birdlife. There is no portage and major whitewater, 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 28kms 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, boating and safety equipment and camping accommodation.
Gravity’s base camp, Red Rock, is set on the banks of the river and your guides will meet you here on the evening before your trip begins. There is ample grass to set up your camping spot for the night and this is also where you will leave your vehicle whilst you are on the river with us. There are basic ablutions, including flush loos, a bar service and easy access to the water for a refreshing dip or trying your hand at catching (and releasing) some Yellowfish.
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 our 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 1 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 third 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 three 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 many any other groups on the water. Your trip will end back at Red Rock camp where you will enjoy a final meal around the campfire. The trip can also be run over 4 days but the time spent on the water will be less – usually a half day’s paddle each day. It can also be combined with our Gorge section for a 6 day long adventure. (Above itinerary may change slightly according to trip, season and water level).
Prices valid till end April 2018. Web prices subject to change without notice.
|Standard Trips – Adults||R4950.00 p/p|
|Standard Trip – Kids under 18||15% off standard price|
|Upgrade Trip – all inclusive option. Prices vary according to group size and we can tailor make according to you needs – this will give you an idea.
*Trips include, tented accommodation first and last night, tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, sit down dinners, bedouin tent, adjusted menu with wine at dinner, small groups and extra guides.
|4-5 people: R11,950.00 p/p
6-7 people: R10,250.00 p/p
8-9 people: R8,950.00 p/p
10-12 people: R8,250.00 p/p
*Prices include camping accommodation, transfers at the river, catering for the duration of the trip, all catering equipment, qualified guides and all boating & safety equipment.
Please note: Your trip price includes TWO nights in base camp and ALL meals, unlike most other river operators.
Gravity has an unwavering attitude towards quality and safety on all of their trips – some of the aspects which make Gravity one of the leading adventure companies in SA include the following;
Are you a member of APA?
Yes, we are Operating Members of APA and our guides are APA members, trained, qualified and experienced.
Do you have your SAMSA Licence to Operate?
Yes we do, we were the first rafting operator to become compliant with the law.
What does the trip include?
It includes all of your meals, from the evening of your arrival, to a light breakfast on the morning of your departure, camping at base camp on your first and last nights, 4 full days and 3 nights on river (3 days and 2 nights if doing a 3 day, 4 night trip), qualified and experienced guides, all boating and safety equipment and no, you don’t have to bring your own loo paper! We also provide crockery and cutlery.
How do I get up to the river?
You can drive up in your own vehicle or we can recommend a vehicle rental company or coach with driver. The road is a good tar road all the way up from Cape Town and takes around 9 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 recommend accommodation en route for you if you’d like to do the drive over two days. 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 a grassed campsite on the river banks. Rustic ablutions and flush toilets are provided. On river, we’ll be free camping – all catering equipment is supplied. You can also upgrade to a dome tent or to a nearby guest house for the nights in base camp.
What about ablutions?
On river, your guide will give you a thorough briefing regarding ablution procedures. Generally, you will wash in the river – we don’t supply showers or hot water on standard trips but these are provided on upgrade trips. We usually use the environmentally friendly ‘cat hole’ toilet method (don’t worry – your guide will explain!) but, depending on the season and the size of your group, may also provide a porta-loo.
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 37kms) so you don’t have to be an athlete to do the trip. A reasonable level of fitness and good health is required, though. Temperatures can be extreme, especially in summer so please bear this in mind. 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. Our general recommendation is a minimum age of 8 years and a maximum of 70. Expectant mothers are welcome – up to about 4 months along. 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 (dependent on water level – medium and high levels only)
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 (dependent on water level– medium and high levels only).
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 where evacuation can be difficult and time consuming but we have put plans in place to cope with any emergencies. We do not carry a sat phone as there is cell coverage from high points at various locations along the river. In general, evacuation by helicopter is not possible due to the rough terrain and the distance from the nearest helicopter but in our 19 years of operation, we have not needed it!
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 – purified water will be supplied at each stop.
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 (and water) are cold. The rainy season is late summer but since this is a semi-arid region, rain is not a frequent occurrence. Thunderstorms do sometimes occur but are usually over quickly.
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 24 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.
How do I book?
To book, we will need a completed booking form as well as a 25% deposit into the following account: Gravity River Tours, FNB, Claremont branch: 200109, account: 623 790 739 60. Your booking is NOT confirmed until we have received both completed the form and payment. Please make sure to reference your deposit with your name and the dates of your trip e.g. “Smith Gorge Dec 12-15”.
More Questions? Give us a call!
Tel: (021) 683 3698. Fax: 086 551 7523
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.gravity.co.za