Welcome to Orange River Rafters
our Adventure Starts Here!

Come and experience an unforgettable adventure with us, together with family and friends.

We are situated ± 670km from Cape Town, ± 1200km from Johannesburg, ± 1000km from Bloemfontein and 800km from Windhoek, 300m before the Vioolsdrift border post (SA side).

We offer the following:
Unforgettable rafting adventures throughout the year for the whole family
(no previous experience needed),
 *chalet, camp and tented camp accommodation, 
*open-air restaurant/bar.

Special rafting rates are offered for schools, student groups and children.

We have different routes with incredible wildlife and unspoiled nature:
Some start at the Vioolsdrift Weir (passports not required for SA citizens),
some run through the Richtersveld (passports required for SA citizens), and some start between Henkries and Goodhouse (passports not required for SA citizens).

Trips/packages available:
Half day; Full day; Overnighters; Weekender; Engagement, 3days/4nights and 4days/5nights.                   Any of these packages can also be offered as fishing packages (please enquier).

More info about the Orange River, fish and bird species.

The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa (total length of 2,200 km (1,400 mi).
The Orange River Basin extends extensively into Namibia and Botswana to the north. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.

The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Except for Upington, it does not pass through any major cities. The Orange River plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation and hydro-electric power. The river was named by Robert Jacob Gordon after the Dutch Royal House. Other names include Gariep River (used by the Khoi people), Groote River or Senqu River (used in Lesotho).

The Orange River forms the south-western boundary of the Free State province. In this section, the river flows first into the Gariep Dam (the largest in the country) and later into the Vanderkloof Dam. From the border of Lesotho to below the Van der Kloof Dam, the river bed is deeply incised. Further downstream the land is flatter and the river is used extensively for irrigation.

At the western point of the Free State, southwest of Kimberley, the Orange meets with its main tributary, the Vaal River, which itself forms much of the northern border of the province. From here the river flows further westward through the arid wilderness of the southern Kalahari region and Namaqualand in the Northern Cape Province to meet with Namibia at 20°E longitude where it flows westward for 550 km, forming the international border between the province and Namibia’s Karas Region.  On the border the river passes the town of Vioolsdrif, the main border post between South Africa and Namibia.

In the last 800 km (500 mi) of its course, the Orange receives many intermittent streams, and several large ravines lead into it.  In this section the Namib Desert ends on the north bank of the river, so under normal circumstances the volume of water added by these tributaries is negligible.  Here, the bed of the river is once again deeply incised. The Augrabies Falls is located on this section of the Orange River where the river descends 122 m (400 ft) in a course of 26 km (16 mi).

The last 100 km or so of the Orange River, in which the gravel deposits in the river bed and along the banks, are rich with diamonds and several diamond mines operate along this stretch.

The Orange empties into the Atlantic Ocean between the small towns of Oranjemund (meaning “Orange mouth“) in Namibia and Alexander Bay in South Africa, about halfway between between Walvis Bay and Cape Town. Some 33 km (21 mi) from its mouth it is completely obstructed by rapids and sand bars and is generally not navigable for long stretches.

Rafting on the Orange River is a popular tourist activity.

During the temperate months of March and April, given good rains and the sluices of the dams being open, a canoeist (or rafter) can easily travel 30 km per day. The lower reaches of the river are most popular because of the spectacular topography.  Commercial tours are available and some of the expeditions depart between Henkries and Goodhouse and others from the border town Vioolsdrift.

Fish species

The Orange River has a relative rareness of species diversity. A 2011 survey of 13,762 fish found only 16 species of fish present. Three of these, the common carp, the Mozambique Tilapia, and the Western Mosquito fish are not indigenous. Another exotic species, Rainbow trout, is found in the river headwaters in Lesotho.

  • The Smallmouth Yellowfish (Labeobarbus aeneus) is a popular sport fish prevalent in the Orange-Vaal River system.

Bird species

Over 120 species have been identified on our routes.

At the Orange River mouth, visitors will be able to spot various bird species like the Flamingo, Spoonbill, Little Bittern, White–backed Night Heron, Maccoa Duck and Cape Shoveller.

The coastal plains are home to many raptors, such as the Lanner and Peregrine Falcon, Black-breasted Snake Eagle and Rock Kestrel. In these vast, open plains you might also get to see about eight species of Lark, as well as the Booted and Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle, Ludwig’s Bustard, Dusky Sunbird, Ground Woodpecker and Southern Grey Tit.

The Orange River zone is home to many water bird species and bush also attracts Diederick Cuckoo, Cardinal Woodpecker, Barn Owl, Acacia Pied Barbet, Freckled Nightjar, Orange River White-eye and African Hoopoe to name but a few.

Larger animals

The Orange River has no large animals. It lies outside the range of the Nile crocodile, and although hippopotami were once abundant, they were hunted to extermination in the 1800s

More About Us

Marius Spangenberg owner of Orange River Rafters is an old butcher of Nieuwoudtville who has spent his holidays on the Orange River.

His passion for the outdoors, nature, river rafting and entertainment made him sell his butchery and abattoir in 2017 and decided to start Orange River Rafters at Vioolsdrift Lodge in March 2018.

With 20 years of business experience / client service, passion for the outdoors, nature, river rafting and entertainment, he is passionate about giving his clients the best adventure.

“When clients visit us, they should never forget the adventure, that’s my mission.”

Service is most important for him and his team, and they are ready for each of there clients.

He would like to address the following:

Our customers are the most important part of our business,
they are not dependent on us, we are dependent on them.

Our customers are not interrupting our work,
they are the purpose of it.

Our customers are not outsiders in our business, they are part of it.

We are not doing our customers a favour by serving them,
they are doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.

Welcome and enjoy the adventure !

Contact Us

Vioolsdrift Lodge
Plot 133, N7,
GPS: 28°46’19.5″ S  17°37΄56.2″ E