Kayaking in Africa
Being the second-largest continent in the world, Africa has the largest and hottest desert. The continent has many wonders and tourist attractions, raking in over 30 million tourists every year. Some of these tourist attractions include; Table Mountain and National Park in South Africa and the Pyramids of Giza and The Great Sphinx in Egypt.
There are many ways to explore the continent of Africa -is kayaking one of them?- yes, it is.
This is your ultimate guide for kayaking in Africa. We have got everything that you need to know.
From the best rivers to the best accommodation and some key things to look out for, your journey to kayaking in Africa starts now.
The first step on your journey of kayaking in Africa is to make sure you have all the necessary documentation, such as your licensing and your permit. If you plan to do any fishing, you need to purchase your fishing license from the relevant offices. The requirements for your kayak, approved by the APA (African Paddling Association), are the following:
● Manufacturer : Fluid Kayaks/ Parys/ , Rapid/ Tide Sports/ Roamer Rand
● Copy of buoyancy certificate provided
● No holes, cracks, or visible damage that will affect buoyancy
● A self-bailing device suitable to drain for white water
● Two handles in the front and back, as well as attachment points for securing gear
● Hatches in good working order and secured to kayak to avoid being lost
● Visual inspection of the condition of the shell
● Approved internal buoyancy or storage buckets
Here are some other safety and rescue precautions to take note of:
Personal Flotation Device (PFD): all paddlers must be wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while kayaking in Africa. All fastenings and adjustment systems must be fully functional. The fabric must not be torn or worn out.
Two double-bladed paddles in good working order: Blades must not be cracked or loose.
Another factor to take into consideration when you are kayaking in Africa is your clothing.
- Footwear: Wear lace-up shoes, booties, or strops. Do not wear slip-on sandals or bare feet.
- Helmets: Must fit securely, have a chin strap, be made out of polypropylene, or polyethene or any other suitable material.
- Weather Conditions: In dark or low-light conditions, make sure to wear visible or bright clothing. For sunnier conditions, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses. As temperatures do get very high in certain areas. In colder weather conditions, it is wise to wear thick layers of clothing to prevent any serious conditions such as hyperthermia.
- Optional Extras: Cameras should be kept in a dry bucket. Make sure you stay hydrated. Bring along water and a device for communication. These should be kept in a dry bucket.
Places to kayak
Africa offers a variety of rivers that you can enjoy on your trip, including some of the largest rivers in the world. These rivers offer amazing views of wildlife in the continent, as well as a unique look at the massive continent. Here are a few rivers you can go to on your kayaking adventure:
The White Nile in Uganda
This is a perfect destination for kayakers Class V rapids. The river is 25-kilometres long and is situated slightly above Lake Victoria. Not only are the waves amazing, but the river also offers a fantastic view of wildlife. While you are crashing waves, be sure to look out for the birds and other nearby animals.
The Rufiji River in Tanzania
The Rufiji river floods into the Indian Ocean. This river contains the largest mangrove forest on earth. The river also flows through Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s best wilderness areas. With 600-kilometres in length and the home of the largest elephant family, this kayaking destination is an experience you do not want to miss.
The Mkomazi River in South Africa
The largest river in the South Coast, rising against the slopes of the Drakensberg mountains. While you’re cruising, keep a lookout for the scaly yellowfish in the river that forms part of the endemic species in KwaZulu-Natal. This river is perfect for white water enthusiasts.
The Mathioya River in Kenya
This river is home to some of the most intense rafting courses in its country. With Class IV white water, this river is sure to give experienced kayakers a joy ride. The river goes up to 450 meters in only 22 kilometres.
The Blyde River in South Africa
Home to the Blyde River Canyon, the scenic views of this river are definitely worth the trip. You can expect to see a multitude of wildlife such as hippos, falcons, crocodiles, and antelope. The river also has one of the largest green canyons. This destination is perfect for beginner kayakers.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana
This protected UNESCO World Heritage Site is a great kayaking destination in Africa. Wildlife such as cheetahs, white rhinos, and black rhinos all call the Okavango home. The natural and wildlife beauty is due to the delta flooding the savannah and making this delta the largest delta in the world.
Places to Stay
Mumbo and Domwe Island
These islands are found in Lake Malawi National Park. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, these islands are sure to give you the best kayaking experience in Africa. You can choose your preference of accommodation from the various options shown, such as safari tents and forest chalets. They also offer private luxury island camps and cottages right on the beach.
Jinja Nile Resort
This resort is located on the banks of the River Nile. The resort offers landscaped gardens. You can have access to free Wifi while you are exploring the Nile River. You also have the option to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner in your stay at the resort. Jinja is a town situated near the Nile. Experience the Nile river from this resort.
Rufiji River Camp
Located high on the banks of the Rufiji River, the camps offer you the perfect kayaking experience. Recommended visiting time to the Selous Game Reserve is between the months of June and February. The Rufiji River Camp will provide you with the perfect accommodation to explore the Rufiji River in Tanzania. Keep a lookout for wildlife such as hippos, as well as beautiful sunsets.
Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
This beautiful lodge is surrounded by the Drakensberg mountains and the Blyde River. The private lodge provides self-catering rooms with balconies. Previous visitors enjoyed the wildlife seen at the lodge, such as giraffes and zebras.
Mathioya River Lodge
This lodge is situated north of the Mathioya riverfront. The self -catering cottages are in the Aberdare ranges, providing a natural and pristine setting. The Mathioya lodge is the perfect option for simplicity and enjoying your kayaking experience on the Mathioya river.
Okavango River Lodge
The lodge offers chalets and bedded tents to guests. A camping option is available for tourists who are on a budget. With several activities, such as safaris and mokoro trips, this lodge would make your kayaking journey one to remember.
As much as kayaking in Africa is enjoyable, there are also some things to be aware of. Facing the African tides alone is daunting and is not recommended.
The Nile crocodile is widely distributed across Africa. Most crocodile attacks happen in the rivers and, therefore, should be a concern of anyone kayaking in areas such as North Egypt, Central and East Africa, and as well as South Africa. Hazardous animals are also something you should look out for, taking precautions against any possible incidents.
Some rivers to be aware of are rivers like the Zambezi. This river is considered to be one of the most dangerous rivers in the world at almost 3,000 kilometres long. The Congo river is considered another dangerous river at nearly 4,800 kilometres long and 16 kilometres deep. Be sure to paddle with caution, especially if you are planning to explore any of the rivers mentioned above.
So there you have it—your ultimate guide and everything you need to know about Kayaking in Africa. With amazing rivers to explore, accessible accommodation, and views of wildlife and scenery like no other, Africa is a kayaking experience you will never forget. Your adventure awaits you. Book your accommodation at one of the lodges, camps, or resorts that were mentioned above. Go explore all that Africa has to offer and start your adventure of a lifetime. Paddle on!