What is it that drives people to conquer the world’s most dangerous environments? Mountain climbers and cave divers put themselves in harm’s way to see heights and depths most of us will never approach, but not ever every nature adventure has to be so dangerous. White water rafting is a perfect mix between safety and excitement, giving travellers all the thrill of adventure without any of the danger. Rafting also happens to be a great way to view some of the world’s most beautiful natural locations. So get out on the water!
The While Nile is a tributary of the actual Nile River, and flows through Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Beginning in Lake Victoria, this river makes for easy day-trips including both exciting rapids and relaxing floats through the unparalleled African landscape. This trip makes a great short trip, or can serve as the first stop in a mutli-day camping adventure. Inexpensive rafting companies exist all along the river’s early stretch, but be sure to choose a reputable company, even if it means dropping a few extra dollars.
This Ontario river sees most of its business come from experts, with choppy waters and long, unbroken stretches with little opportunity to make for shore. Trips usually begin at Magpie Lake, and can take more than a week to traverse its long and winding length, which passes through several small and large local lakes. This stop and go experience makes it one of the more famous rafting runs, with periods of exciting rapids followed by placid floats along Ontario lakes.
This is easily the most advanced trip on the list. Beginning in Alaska, this river takes roughly two weeks to fully traverse, and comprises one of the toughest endurance runs in the world. With ice cold water and some of the most untamed land in North America, this is a trip for those looking to truly conquer nature. Camping and survival packages exist to teach even novices the ropes, taking them through every skill they need to be true outdoor experts. Several quick safety certifications are necessary before embarking on this quest for fun and glory, and local tour operators offer these services at discount rates for customers.
Turkey is one of the most ancient civilizations with any trace still remaining; outside of the Egyptian pyramids, it’s difficult to find more preserved history than in the reserves and the wilderness of Turkey. Take a trip down the Coruh River and you’ll be treated to a procession of some of the world’s greatest historical treasures, as well as world-class river scenery. Guided trips are the best way to enjoy this sort of content, as your guides will know where to disembark and take a quick hike up to some old ruin, often from as long ago as the Byzantine Empire. Called by many the last of Turkey’s “wild rivers,” this river is under strict environmental protection, making it one of the more sought-after destinations by eco-tourists.
The wildlife of Ecuador will seem like the primary attraction when you first set out onto the surface of this fast-moving river, choppy but shallow. Its cuts a strip through the rainforest that is perpetually filled with the sounds and sights of tropical birds, from toucans to spectacular forest butterflies. However, the real draw of the Rio Upano is nearer to the end: Namangosa Gorge, which lets rafters tread near a seemingly endless array of waterfalls both large and small. There
There are few places on Earth with more life along the riverbanks than Costa Rica. Whether it’s curious monkeys (no feeding!) or lazy crocodiles (really no feeding!), a trip down the Pacuare River is sure to offer sights and sound that simply don’t exist anywhere else. That the Pacuare also happens to be one of the most novice-friendly major rafting rivers, with stretches ranging from Grade II through V, just makes it all the more appealing. Rafting trips can span multiple days, but day-trips along this river’s most accessible stretches are extremely popular.
Drigung Chu River
This Tibetan river offers the chance at both world-class water adventures and unmatched cultural tourism. The river eventually ends near the Everest base camp on the Tibetan side of the great mountain, and most trips feature a visit as a capper to a rafting trip. However, the real cultural appeal of a trip down Drigung Chu River is all the Buddhist architecture you’ll pass. Many choose to extend their trips by whole days so they can take the time to disembark and fully appreciate each of these world wonders before floating on by. Keep a special eye out for the Dalai Lama’s former summer palace, the incredible Norbulingka.
Though the main rafting portion of Snake River is referred to as Hell’s Kitchen, it’s really not as bad as all that. This is one of the most commercialized rafting spots in the world, and as a result it is perfect for families and anyone looking for the thrills of rafting with as little impact as possible. Day trips and two-day excursions are the norm, here. Hell’s Kitchen caters an incredible array of skill levels , with many tightly packed rapids offering fun for beginners and intermediates. More advanced river riders will find entertainment here as well, though they’ll have to stay on the river for longer.
The Colorado River is one of the most varied short river runs in the world. A trip down its main 400 kilometre stretch will put rafters through almost 50 separate rapids, large and small, but it’s the scenery that really sets this river apart. Your trip will take you through high-walled canyons, striated with millions of years’ worth of deposition, and then through wide open areas with amazing Arizona views. Short treks will show one or perhaps two of these features, but the full two-week affair is simply unparalleled in terms of the sheer variety of its beauty.
This leisurely trip follows British Columbia’s Alsek River as it rushed down from four kilometre mountain ranges and massive, melting glaciers. This wide and fast-moving river has only a few periods of extreme chop (the longest route requires a quick portage to avoid a particularly nasty area) and is known for offering incredible vistas with tall mountains in every direction. The Alsek River also moves through the world’s most densely populated Grizzly territory, making it a favourite among nature lovers.