Canoeing in South Africa. Where can I canoe in SA?
Canoeing or paddling is an excellent way to get out on the water and to have some fun. Canoes are traditionally long, narrow, open-decked boats that a person sits or kneels in, and uses a paddle to propel the boat forward. Canoes are more suited to river paddling, while kayaking (a smaller, closed-deck boat) is used when paddling in the sea.
River canoeing is a lot of fun and, depending on the size of the canoe, can be paddled by a single person or a group of people. Canoes are propelled forward by human muscle power only, so it is up to you whether your paddle will be a strenuous race to the finish or more of a leisurely float downstream.
When hiring a canoe you should receive the boat, a paddle, and a lifejacket, as well as a list of canoeing instructions. While a lifejacket may seem unnecessary, bear in mind that while the river may be calm at the start of your trip, there could be rapids just around the next bend and it could come in handy.
In summer a canoeing trip that lasts for a few days is fantastic for those who enjoy “roughing it”. You will paddle along a section of the river, stopping for lunch and exploring the surroundings, and at night you will camp on the riverbank, either in a tent or just on a camping mattress with a sleeping bag. Then the next morning it’s back on the canoe for another day’s hard – or gentle – paddling. Some of these canoeing adventures trips will have someone to meet you at a predetermined place, collect you and the canoes and drive you back to base camp. Otherwise, you’ll have to turn around and paddle back along the river the way you came.
There are many things besides canoeing that you can do on a canoeing holiday. Certain parts of the river will be excellent for fishing, there is usually a large variety of birdlife to be seen around rivers, there could be many places to stop and enjoy some hiking, plus there is always the choice to jump into the water for a quick swim if you get too hot while paddling.
Keep in mind that sunblock and plenty of drinking water are necessities if you are going to spend the day out on the water.