One of three rivers in South Africa with this name, the biggest version of the Olifants River sources near the small farming town of Bethal in Mpumalanga, flows north through the Witbank and Loskop Dams before turning east and eventually joining the Letaba River and later the Limpopo on its way through Mozambique and into the Indian Ocean at Xai-Xai north of Maputo.
Rafting trips start at Mabinz Village and end at Manoutsa near the Strijdom Tunnel. Guests meet at the Adventure Centre at Forever Resorts Swadini, where a one-hour transfer takes them to the put-in point for a safety briefing. Trips are done in two-man inflatable crocs, which handle the pools and drops with ease, and the day includes a picnic lunch served on the banks of the river, and drinks at the finish. Guests are returned to the Adventure Centre after either a full day or a half day of action.
The Olifants River is a high-volume, low-gradient river that’s great fun for experienced and inexperienced paddlers alike.
Guests will enjoy the flexibility of the boats, which swing slowly into the current as it becomes a series of wave trains, standing waves, pour-overs and holes, all resulting in exciting and unforgettable rafting.The best time to go is between the summer months of November and May, but the section is very dependent on the rainy season and water levels so it’s best to check on conditions beforehand. When the river is high, some of the rapids become testing, rollicking class-four beasts – although the less adventurous paddlers can opt to walk around these. Long Drop and Double Trouble are the rapids that will perk up the excitement levels, but the trip is famous for magnificent mountain scenery as it passes through a remote tribal wilderness area, surrounded by spectacular cliffs.