Paddling down Orange River

Orange River is the longest river in South Africa, and together with classmates from Cape Town, I paddled through parts of it, having South Africa on one side, and Namibia on the other.

The trip started with 10 hours in a bus, without air condition. It became quite warm, but luckily the sun had started to set when we got there, so together with the hot humidity it created a comfortable temperature in the desert area. Just after we had crossed the border, we were allowed out of the bus, and sat down around a campfire with the group and the crew of guides that would take us 70kilometres down the river that we would paddle the following days.

All of the five days spent at the river started early (usually around 7AM) and were mostly spent paddling, with only short stops to catch the breath and gather the group, except for our lunch breaks which luckily were a bit longer. After the breaks we went on until the sun set and we could make a camp and have dinner while telling ghost stories and sing songs around the campfire.

The paddling trip was tough, and was by some people described as a fantastic hell. All the meals were prepared on bonfires, and all night were spent outside in the wilderness among spiders, scorpions and bigger animals. It was a trip where everyone got to show their true side, as some helped more, and encouraged others to paddle on, but it was an experience which made everyone grow closer to each other. I think that this, until now, is the best trip I have ever done in my life. Even though everyone agreed, when getting home, that they were glad the trip was over.

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