Me, Rachel Swailes. My blog about stuff I get up to in and around the Western Cape, Cape Town, George, Wilderness, Hermanus and other cool places :)

Published on Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 8:12 am

We left Cape Town quite early in the morning and before lunch time the temperature was already in the high 30′s. Since we had used the air con pretty much the whole way, the car started to struggle a big and we had to stop on the side of the road so that it wouldn’t over heat. Thankfully Reiner, Simone and Mark were travelling in convoy with us so we weren’t alone. It was so hot standing there, we even found a patch of tar that was melting!

This is the campsite we had at the Abiqua River Camp. The camp is just inside the border from Noordower and it’s suprisingly green and beautiful considering everything else around is a desert. After the hot trip, it was so wonderful to get into the river. Here you can also see the buckets that we had to pack everything into. Thankfully, they were waterproof! (We had MANY opportunities to prove it!)

Gareth was using his weights gloves to protect his hands while paddling, but all of the dye kept coming off on his hands.

This was taken after the first long day paddling.

We hit the wind in the afternoon and it made life extremely difficult. We were just glad that we were in the hard boats because paddling in the inflatable crocs against the wind must kill! The next few photos were also taken at the first campsite we stayed at on the river.

On the left here is Darren who is one of the guides. Bfore lunch on the second day we stopped for a walk up into the hills to the fluorite mine. They are green-yellow stones that you throw into the coals at night. When they get hot they start to glow a fluorescent blue color and then they explode like pop rocks. From this view point he also showed us the rapids that we had gone through and the Sjambok rapid that was coming up ahead.

The pictures below were taken at the second night’s camp site.

This site was at the border of the Richtersfeld and we woke up the next morning to the sound of the fisheagles.

This is Darren at the second capsite making sure we have a fire for some coffee and the awesome roast lamb later on. Yumm!
And this is Werner the other guide busy fixing the boats. He wasn’t happy with the foot spas that some boats were developing.

In the purple boat is Reiner paddling away alone. Congratulations to him for completing one of the rapids backwards! Next in the blue boat is Simone and Mark. They won the award for Most Rocks Found In River.

In the orange boat was the couple from Pretoria, Deon and Dalida. It was great to have them along! And then Gareth and me in the green boat. The only team to not come off in the rapids despite the close call with nearly wiping Mark out while they were perched on a rock.

And Darren leading from the red boat at the front. Werner was in the yellow boat at the back to rescue people from rocks.

These photos are from the camp site of the third night. The heat coming off the mountains made the whole night really hot.

We stopped to look at the last rapid of the trip called “Suprise”. By this point we were all pros so there was far less yelling of “Lings! Lings! Vasbyte!” from the orange team.

The happy campers 90kms later.Lastly, some other photos from the trip…

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3 Responses to “Orange River”

  1. Wow that looks awesome. I’ve also signed up for an orange river trip. Scheduled for April and I’m really looking forward to it. By the looks of it, you guys really enjoyed so I can’t wait!.

  2. Nice to see another recording of the trip. I just completed my third one (2006-12-27 to 2006-12-31), starting at Ambiqua camp. This time the river was fairly full, and it was amazing to see the seasonal differences and how the nature of the rapids change with different water levels.

    I have done it in the winter of 2000 (Johan and Colleen as guides), December 2003 (Darren in the lead) and now again, December 2006 (Theuns in the lead, supported by Liaan, with Andre in training).

    If health prevails, I hope to go back – the river grew on me! The stars at night: awesome!

    Note: for me, Sjambok in winter was much more scary and difficult than in summer. In 2006 the highligt for me was Kamkap, which I did for the first time. What an experience to fall in a hole in the river, and then to face a wave that goes right over your head!

  3. Thanks for the comment, Alida. It was a super trip and the sky at night was just spectacular! I also hope to go again soon :)