Just an hour outside the hustle and the bustle of Johannesburg sits the Earth's oldest river. A raging whitewater torrent that races towards the sea, the Vaal might be considered just another adventure rafting location for most, but for the local experts at R.E.A.L Adventures - this is where the world began.
Just a stone's throw from Vredefort crater - the largest verified impact crater on Planet Earth (300 km (186 mi) across), Vaal might not match its metrological cousin in intergalactic mystery - but its effect on the landscape for the last three billion years still makes it a must do when visiting this iconic UNESCO World Heritage site.
Once a revered gold-panning tributary of the Orange River, today, the Vaal River is a life source for South Africa - with the river's iconic rapids generating more than 80% of the country's electricity and covering an area of approximately 38 500km (23 923 miles).
The largest inland stretch of navigable water in South Africa, all that sparkles might not be gold, but there are other kicks to be had on the Vaal that money can't buy! A mecca for fun boating & sports kayaking, the grade six river is renowned for its large drops, narrow passages and complex boulder fields - definitely making it one of the most dangerous in South Africa.
Thankfully, R.E.A.L Adventures is a company that has grown up on its banks, pioneering group rafting excursions for urban nomads looking to experience the wilder side of South Africa. Working on sections of the river better suited to total beginners and families, their convenient, safe and fully guided whitewater rafting tours navigate the Parys rapids - ensuring every trip is the ideal balance of technical skill building and whitewater fun!
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Instructors were good, but would have been better with a smaller group as there were a few too many boats at one time.