This is our list of the best whitewater rafting trips in the world. Rafting is an awesome sport, a great way to spend your free time, and it makes for a great holiday. We are blessed on this planet to have so many countries with exceptionally good whitewater rafting on offer. Which means there are lots of places on our bucket list!

We have comprised our list of the best places in the world to go whitewater rafting.

1. Zambezi River – Zimbabwe/Zambia

This has to be one of the most famous rafting trips in the world. A dramatic adrenaline fueled rafting expedition that runs through 6 countries. Brave the rapids beneath the thundering Victoria Falls, with beautiful Africa in the background. This is a trip for experienced rafters and offers the chance to see hippopotamuses, elephants and crocodiles up close and personal. Not forgetting the infamous Batoka Gorge section which bubbles away with 23 rapids in a 24-kilometre section, some of the best Class IV-V rafting in the world. There’s so may that many aren’t even named, but some of the best are Boiling Point, Oblivion and the Last Straw.

Our friends in the business – Love It Live It!

2. Brahmaputra – India

This is one of the biggest and most remote rivers on the planet. It’s been described as the ‘Everest of Rivers’. The 14 day rafting trip runs through isolated tribal settlements and surrounded by dense forests. The highlight is rafting through the Marmong Gorge, where you are encompassed in deep impenetrable tropical forests on either side. Big volume and adventurous, everything you would expect from a Himalayan River.

Our friends in the business – Team4Adventure

3. White Nile – Uganda

Another African adventure that has to be added to the list. There are many different trips on offer on this river from short to longer expeditions giving you a true taste of African culture. For kayakers, it’s an awesome place for play boating. It is said that a day trip on the White Nile is one of the wildest one day white water rafting trips in the world.

Our friends in the business – Kayak The Nile

 4. Middle Fork of Salmon River -USA 

Idaho’s Middle Fork offers great wilderness rafting in America. It weaves it’s way through the 2.7million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness which is the largest roadless tract of land in the US. Perfect for beginner rafters looking for adventure with big drops, heaps of action and technical paddling. When your not focused on the rafting, make sure to take in the 2000 foot gorge you are paddling through. A highlight is going through the the ultimate in “Big Drops” when you raft Tunnel Chute an underground rapid blasted out by gold miners. Here the river descends 80 feet through a very narrow chute that is at most 18 feet wide! And we need to mention, that from start to finish, the river drops 3000ft in altitude! Rapid highlights include Parallel Parking, Texas Chainsaw Mama and Final Exam

Our friends in the business – NorthWest Rafting

5. Sun Kosi –  Nepal

This is the original expedition in Nepal. It offers impressive big volume Grade IV rapids that draw rafters from all over the world. You’ll travel through the hearth of Nepal from the Tibet border to the Indian one, witnessing the change of scenery from the Himalayan mountains, lush forests and ending in the dusty plains. This trip is as much about the off river adventure as it is about the river. There are several traditional Hindu temples and quaint Nepali villages to explore and the camping on white sandy beaches is better than any campsite you will ever find. Rapid highlights include Harkapur, Rhino Rock, Jungle Corridor and Jaws. Hello, you have reached rafting Nirvana!

Our friends in the business – GRG’s Adventure Kayaking

6 The Futaleufú –  Chile

The Fu or Futa as it is also know is dare we say, the best river in South America?! Some have described this as a joining of the scenery of California’s Yosemite with the rapids of the Grand Canyon and the water colour of the Caribbean. Personally, we can’t think of a better combination. Fed from the glacier-fed lakes in the Andes Mountains, the upper section is reserved solely for experienced paddlers with many Class IV drops, but the lower, easier 22 mile stretch at the bottom is more assessable to people with less experience. The river has many permanent river camps that offer beds, hot showers, hot tubs etc, which is not common place on many expedition style trips. Rapid highlights include the Terminator, Bridge-to-Bridge and El Macal.

Our friends in the business – Pucon Kayak Hostel

7. Colorado River, Grand Canyon –  USA

No rafting list could be compete without mentioning the mighty Colorado River. This surely is one of the ultimate expeditions in the world, it has after all, carved out the Grand Canyon over time, weaving for 226 miles through Colorado, Utah and Arizona. A highlight of this river is the Class V Gore Canyon. This trip is not just about the whitewater, when you have the time in between tackling rapids, the flat sections provide you a rather special view of the canyon. Off the river you are treated to ancient Indian ruins, miles and miles of trekking trails and stunning campsites.

Our friends in the business – Phil Dereimer Adventure Kayaking

8. Jondachi – Ecuador

There are so many rivers in Ecuador, it’s hard to choose just one. Rather we think, Ecuador as a whole is one of the best places in the world for whitewater adventures. However, we did manage to whittle it down to one, the Jondachi, which is the ultimate Jungle adventure also known as the Gem in the Andes. Although it’s one of the shorter rivers, there has to be almost 100 rapids on a 10k stretch! A muddy trek in gets you to the put in of this river where it’s then non stop fun! If you get the chance inbetween the rapids, keep an eye out for the colourful parrots in the trees above. This is a river of two halves, with the upper section being more intense than it’s lower counterpart.

Our friends in the business – Small World Adventures


So there it is, our top 8 best rafting rivers of all time. Can you think of any other destinations that should be added to this list?

If we’ve inspired you to take a whitewater rafting holiday, contact us now!

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