Few things compare to the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting. A famous adventure sport, white-water rafting is an exhilarating experience and a fantastic way to explore some of the worlds most beautiful rivers. Here are the top five best white-water rafting spots in the world:
Colorado River, USA
The Colorado River, which wanders for more than 277 miles along parts of northern Arizona, is the quintessential white-water rafting experience. With huge powerful rapids, calm picturesque stretches and some of the best camping spots ever, it is impossible not to include the Colorado River on our list (especially as its most famous stretch passes through the Grand Canyon).
You can spend a day exploring the Colorado River to see a unique view of the canyon but to get the full experience, more than two weeks is recommended. There is also plenty of adventure awaiting on dry land; with ancient Indian ruins, miles of hiking trails and campsites close to beautiful beaches.
Futaleufú River, Chile
The whitewater legend of South America, Futaleufú River is well known for its powerful, exploding whitewater that’s fed from glaciers of the Andes Mountains. Some have described the Futaleufú River as a joining of Yosemite’s stunning scenery, with the incredible rapids of the Grand Canyon and the beautiful blue hue of the Caribbean Sea.
The rapids here are great for both beginners and advanced rafters. The river, also known as Fu or Futa, is calm enough in many areas for novice rafters (there’s a tranquil 22 mile stretch at the bottom) yet experienced rafters will feel at home in the long stretches of rough rapids.
Along the way you’ll find permanent features such as river camps with hot tubs, beds and warm showers. And if you’ve had enough of whitewater rafting for the day, rock climbing and horseback riding is also available.
Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Known as the “River of Life”, the Zambezi River is southern Africa’s fourth largest river, flowing through six countries and supporting millions of people. As one of the most famous rafting rivers, the Zambezi has been affectionately named the ‘Slam-bezi’ thanks to its powerful rapids, dramatic drops and massive swells.
Not for the fainthearted, the Zambezi River attracts experience rafters who are looking for an adrenaline soaked adventure. The section beneath the 360 feet Victoria Falls provides some of the most exhilarating whitewater rafting in solid class 4 and 5 rapids.
When you’re not traversing the spinetingling river, keep an eye out for crocodiles, hippos and elephants as you take a moment to catch your breath.
Middle Fork, Salmon River, Idaho
One of North America’s most iconic white-water rafting experiences, the middle fork of Salmon River in Idaho is set in a federally protected wilderness area. The 104 mile long journey is nothing short of spectacular, with snow-capped peaks towering over granite canyons and thick forests that line the banks.
Perfect for white-water rafting beginners looking for adventure, middle fork has over 100 rapids and drops along the way. A particular highlight is going through the Tunnel Chute, an underground rapid blasted out by gold miners where the river descends 80 feet through a very narrow chute.
North Johnstone River, Australia
The North Johnstone River located in Queensland, Australia, winds through volcanic gorges and untouched rainforests. Accessibly only by helicopter, the North Johnstone River can take up to 6 days to descend and if you decide to set yourself the challenge, there are plenty of comfortable campsites along the way. Not only will the helicopter drop you off and pick you up, it’ll accompany you as you travel along the river.
The river is most impressive by night with views that can only be described as breathtaking. Luminous fungi flow surreally on the rocks and fireflies dance the forest canopy.