Paddling down the Orange River

Dearest fellow drifter

A few months ago, I spent five days on the Orange River with my son, my brother and my nephew. I am so grateful for the time. For my family. For the beauty. And for what this magnificent continent has shared with me.

This will not be a long letter. I made a video of our time on the river. Thereafter, a short reflection on the journey, along with some photos, and then another video…

Paddling on the Orange River

I have yet to engage in this ‘bucket list’ mania to which so many of a certain age subscribe, although my daughter would be the first to insist that I am now ‘of that age’. However, if I had to generate such an inventory, I would quietly reinsert this particular voyage and insist on navigating the entire length of the river – or as much of it as is possible in the same decadent comfort afforded by the folks of The River Rafters, who looked after us for these five days.

Denis and Paul, our guides, provided broad smiles, sage advice and expert cuisine from sunrise until we were ensconced in our sleeping bags under the stars after each glorious sunset. We were privileged to be accompanied by these two experienced rivermen.

I cannot lie, even by omission: it is a long drive from Durban, on the east coast of South Africa, to Noordoewer, just across the border in Namibia. That is two full days of driving. Each way. This may well put off many prospective paddlers. Fortunately, I am partial to a road trip, and our stunning country offers scenery that will sooth the soul if you are willing to give yourself over to the journey.

So my five days on the Orange River were really nine days in Africa.

She is glorious, and I am very, very grateful.

Sjambok Rapids

Yours entirely, and forever wandering,


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