The best whitewater rafting destinations in the world

Rafting is an amazing sport. It allows people with absolutely no previous experience, to explore places sometimes only accessible by rafts and kayaks. From deep canyons such as the Grand canyon of the Colorado river or the Batoka gorge of the infamous Zambezi river, to the crystal clear emerald pools of the Soča river in Slovenia.

The Soča river in Slovenia
The Soča river in Slovenia

How does it work? You and your rafting team (or just you J) are given all the necessary safety equipment which usually includes a helmet, life jacket, wetsuit, shoes and splash jacket. You listen to the safety briefing explained to you by your guide and then you are given a paddle, you sit on an inflatable rubber boat and the journey begins. It’s hard to say what your journey will be like, since that depends on the river. Some rivers offer world class whitewater at the right water levels, other rivers are calmer and offer amazing views of the surrounding scenery. We have put together a short list of what we think are some of the best rafting destinations in the world.

The Zambezi River, Zambia

The Zambezi river located of the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is probably the wildest commercially rafted river in the world. The rafting trip begins at the bottom of the amazing Victoria falls. You can choose between single day or multi day rafting trip, which means you will spend the night on the river banks and continue rafting the next morning. The powerful rapids of this river will  give an adrenaline rush to even the most fearless participants. Sadly, rafting on the Zambezi will only be possible for a few more years, since a large hydro power plant is being built that will flood pretty much everything up to the Victoria falls. So don’t hesitate and head over to the Zambezi now before it is too late.

When to go rafting: all year

The best whitewater rafting destinations in the world

The Colorado River – Grand Canyon, USA

One of the most famous rafting destinations in the world and probably the most expensive one. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado river is the biggest canyon in the world. You can choose between 1 day or multi day rafting trips. Rest assured that white water rafting in Colorado Springs is an amazing experience that gives you lasting memories! Further, the longest rafting trip through the Grand Canyon takes up to 18 days! The color of the river is a surprise as well. It can go from perfectly clear turquoise color, to chocolate brown, depending on the dam upstream.

When to go rafting: April – October

The best whitewater rafting destinations in the world

The Soča River, Slovenia

The Soča river, located in the northwestern Slovenia near the towns of Bovec an Kobarid is a true gem and offers some of the best whitewater in Europe. But that’s not even the best thing about this river. The most special thing is the color of the water. The color of the Soča river is unlike anything you have ever seen before. The water is perfectly clear, so you can see every stone and fish in the river and features a special blue-green (emerald) color.

It’s rapids may not be as powerful as those of the Zambezi river, but at the right water-level (spring snowmelt) the Soča river will provide world class whitewater and offer views of the amazing surrounding landscape. When the river is lower, it’s also appropriate for families with smaller children. There are many rafting agencies in the valley, so prices may vary. Don’t go for the cheapest price, since you might get poor safety equipment or a guide without a license.

Nature’s Ways is one of the rafting agencies in Bovec, that know how to do rafting the right way. More info:

Besides rafting, the Soča valley offers pretty much all the outdoor activities anyone can think of, from  kayaking and canyoning to paragliding, zip-lining, and skydiving.  No wonder people call this place the adventure capital of Europe!

When to go rafting: April – October (April – June high water)

The best whitewater rafting destinations in the world

No Photoshop! This is the actual color of the river. 🙂


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