Where to Go Rafting & Kayaking
On remote tracts of river amongst some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, adventurous travellers are pitting themselves against the power of nature. They don’t necessarily need to be fast, strong or even particularly fit – just prepared to get wet.
Paddling adventures are a great way to see some amazing landscape you couldn’t reach any other way, but what you may not have known is that they’re often more accessible than the holiday slides evoke. Several World Reviewer Rafting and Kayaking experts have included on their list of top rivers to explore trips suitable for people low on experience. Hamish McMaster has escorted people with disabilities into some fairly challenging places while Hedley Wilton has been on paddling trips where your evenings are spent in five star accommodation. Most of our experts rave about river side camping, cooking good food (not having to carry food on your back means you can sometimes eat very well - especially if you’re spending all day burning calories paddling!), and having time to really enjoy your surroundings (and you certainly don’t get that at Machu Picchu these days). So paddling can be an adventure you don’t necessarily need months to prepare for, which can also be relaxing. Really the only problem is getting wet and most of experts also agree that the water is another one of the main attractions, especially if it’s a dramatic churning torrent whipping spray up all around you...
We asked our experts for suggestions: for the best scenery, maximum adrenalin pumping, but with least skill needed:
Ryan Hutchings The Northern Territories of Canada are a remote, rarely seen region where paddlers get to see the true Canadian wildlands that few get to experience, and the actual “whitewater rafting” portion of trips here can be pretty mild depending on the river, nothing scary. Chile offers probably the most exotic of all trips, through rainforest areas, ancient ruins and exotic forest destinations but there are still routes with moderate whitewater, with a few large rapid areas. The Grand Canyon is another popular and dramatically scenic destination but still within the realms of most people. The main consideration is making sure you have a permit for the river. If you go with an outfitter this is another thing you won’t need to worry about.
Zach Collier Paddling trips which I would consider perfect for people from 7 to 70 are the Rogue River, Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Grand Canyon, the Klamath River, and the American River. These are all exciting rivers that are not very dangerous.
Hedley Wilton New Zealand's Abel Tasman National Park offers easy paddling with excellent scenery and wildlife. Its not hard and all ages (14 up) can enjoy it. One to three days is ideal and there is option of camping through to five Star lodge accommodation.
Omer I will lead a group of paddlers round the Shetland Islands this July and I have the feeling that this region will also be attractive for beginners since its easy to find calm water during summer.
Michael Gray I'd either recommend paddling in the Bay Islands of Honduras (Feb-April) or, the very user friendly, Kachemak Bay Alaska. Its accessible, exciting, dramatic, has a number of options and comes with the added oddity of a paddle-up espresso bar.
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