River rafting is one of the most exciting and thrilling experiences for anyone who loves a good adventure. However, since you’ll be at the mercy of nature it is a good idea to take some precautions before launching yourself on the rough rapids of any river.

Below are some simple and easy to follow tips for making the most out of your river rafting experience.

Educate yourself

You’re going river rafting but you don’t know anything about it other than the fact that you’ll be riding down a river? Do some research and get to know what you’re capable of taking on. If you’ve never river rafted before, then it would be advisable to avoid going on a Class V river for your first time.

Learn about the river

Depending on the location and season, some rivers will have a higher volume of water either during winter or summer. Gather some information about the river you’ll be going on and get to know how it functions during the various seasons. Bear in mind that some rivers, like the Orange River, have rafting options at different points along its length. These points vary in intensity, so you’ll have to pick your destination carefully.

Know your endurance levels

Depending on the level and length of your trip, you might need to consider strengthening your body’s endurance levels. If you can’t swim, then don’t even consider going river rafting until you’ve taken some lessons!

Always follow the instructions of your guide

This is a fairly straightforward one, but worth mentioning. Always follow the instructions of your guide, he knows best what to be done and when. Your guide will let you know when you have to lean to the left or right, paddle or stop paddling, or sit in and out.

No alcohol before rafting

Ok, so many of us want to have fun and make as much of the experience as possible, but don’t drink alcohol before rafting, no matter how tempting you might find it. You’re not only putting your own life at risk but everyone else’s around you as well. Your adrenaline levels will already be pumping from the exhilarating rush of the water.

Wear a life jacket, helmet and water shoes

No matter what happens, make sure that you have a life vest and helmet on at all times. Your life jacket and helmet should fit comfortably on your body and head, without restricting your bodily movements and paddling. And lastly, wearing water shoes will also make your trip more fun and comfortable, as it will allow you to avoid slipping on rocks or other hazardous objects in the river.


Written by Ivelina Dineva

Image credit: Julia Rosen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, via Flickr