Kloofing and Canyoning in South Africa

SafariNow Travel Guide KLOOFING & CANYONING

Abseiling into the Kaaimans River
©Kelvin Saunders - Eden Adventures

Kloofing, or canyoning as it is called in most parts of the world other than South Africa, is the art (or possibly science) of following a mountain stream down its course by floating, flolloping, jumping or swimming. By its very nature, kloofing takes place in a relatively high risk area, a river gorge, deep in the mountains so, although it's a whole load of fun, it can be dangerous - particularly as the whole point of kloofing, really, is to leap over waterfalls or cliffs into (hopefully deep) pools. And the best - or worst, depending on your point of view - part is that most kloofing or canyoning trips involve a point of no return. Some kloofs, or canyons, may also include a bit of scrambling and perhaps an abseil or two. If you really know what you're doing, you can do this on your own but kloofing is best done with a knowledgeable guide or at least someone who's done the river before.

Kaaimans kloofing
©Kelvin Saunders - Eden Adventures

No matter how experienced you are, you've no way of knowing how deep the water 10m below you is - particularly in the Western Cape, where the water is the colour of cola and it looks the same whether it's a metre deep or 10m deep.

In the Western Cape, Suicide Gorge and the Riviersonderend Gorge, both of which involve quite high compulsory jumps, can be done as an escorted trip. Closer to Cape Town, the Steenbras River is a combined abseiling/kloofing trip. Actually, it's not really kloofing as you walk up the river, doing optional jumps into deep pools and then brave a 65m abseil over a beautiful waterfall, but it's a lot of fun and is perfect to try out the whole idea as you can chicken out if you like. A rather fun trip on the Kaaimans River, near Wilderness on the Garden Route, involves an abseil, a couple of semi-abseils, where you are belayed down tricky sections, and a fun swim through a waterfall. The Ratel River, on the farm Beaverlac, near the Western Cape town of Porterville, which is close to the Cederberg, is a fun river for self-guided kloofing.

Abseiling into Nuy gorge
©Simonskloof Mountain Retreat

There is a guided, overnight adventure kloofing trip on the Nuy River near Montagu in the Western Cape. It has all the usual ingredients plus sleeping under the stars and cooking on an open fire.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Mfongosi River, near Eshowe, is renowned for very high, very steep rockslides - quite an adrenaline rush - and definitely the most extreme of the kloofing experiences on offer, but it's a very scenic spot and the best part is - none of the jumps or slides are compulsory. The Sabie River, near the Mpumalanga town of Sabie, is the site of a couple of fun escorted kloofing trips and there are some self-guided kloofing or canyoning trips in the Drakensberg.

Getting wet is an integral part of kloofing so it's generally much more fun in summer, and some kloofing trips are closed through the winter.

To book for Kloofing and Abseiling in the Garden Route contact:
Chris & Louise Leggatt at Eden Adventures
Mobile: 083 628 8547
Tel & Fax: +27 44 877 0179
Email: tours@eden.co.za

FriXion Adventures run exclusive kloofing trips in the Limietberg ravine just 85 kms from Cape Town with abseils down six waterfall ranging from 15 to 50 meters.
Tel: 021 447 4985
Scott 082 378 8853
Brett 082 855 6271
Email: info@frixion.co.za