Youth adventure events


If you want to escape the city, build character, show leadership, and perhaps consider a career in the outdoors, join an AsAfrica adventure camp.

In 2016 we are beefing up our programme of adventure events for youngsters.

CONTACT US to discuss your interests. Schools and clubs often choose one-day events for a brief introduction to adventure. We hike, river raft, and give short talks and video presentations to explain the entry requiremets, risks and career options in adventure.

We offer weekend primers at our on the Vaal where there is a campsite, training room, the river, mountains and open veld. Come along to experience adventure at first hand and find out more about further training.


Longer camps and expeditions are held at regular intervals during holiday periods. For example, you can join an Orange River 5-day paddling trip and learn many of the skills of the outdoors as we go. Our tough and experienced guides mentor youngsters in the techniques of exploration and survival.

assess discussion dean shads 2012We have linked up with The Riverman to provide an exciting and informative program of youth adventure camps and mentoring expeditions. Our curriculum is used and Riverman provides the facilities. Skills covered include rafting, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and campcraft as well as catering. That’s not all. The youngsters are introduced to legal requirements and professional ethics, and it is explained where they can go for post-school training. It’s often a good idea to use the “gap year” to get practical field adventure experience as a foundation for formal qualifications later.


Youngsters often dream of being adventurers for life. What are the requirements and how does one get into the field in the first place?  The key is to do it. Join a local hiking or canoeing club, go camping with friends, plan anAdventureLogo-300x137 exploration in the holidays, get a mountain bike and try trail riding. Develop personal know-how. Make connections. Learn to read maps using a compass and GPS. Keep a logbook. Do an advanced first aid course. Learn to tie knots. Read some of the great books. Write up adventures for the media. Subscribe to magazines and websites that report exciting trips and ultra races. Whatever your interest, get involved and start building up what matters most – experience!


ASAFRICA river proficiency certificate SAMPLEThose who attend our courses and expeditions, and who complete the activities, receive a Certificate of Performance. This covers what was done, who did the training, and the level of challenge involved.

We will quote for schools and youth clubs too. Keep in mind that we are not just running holiday camps: our intention is to induct young adventurers into life in the outdoors.

  • Email or call 0842452490 for more.

Doring River 2015

doring guides leaflet thumbnailWorking guides! Here’s your chance to get a unique logged trip on the remote, wild and beautiful Doring River in the Cape Cederberg.  Join the expedition to learn from the best – Ole Man River, Graeme Addison “The River Professor”. We’re laying on a fully organised expedition with food, transport, and equipment if you need it. Click to read the leaflet.

Our base camp is at Pakuilsfontein, half an hour from Clanwilliam (we’ll supply a map). Get yourself there (or arrange with us for a pickup in Cape Town) and come ready for the best week of whitewater in your life.

From Doringbos bridge to Klawer, the Doring occupies an increasingly deep canyon in the semi-desert of Namaqualand. Famous rapids include Corner, Waterfall, the Chute, House, Kranz, Island, Teeth and Surprise. The river is generally rated 2-3+ but can hit 4 at high water.  The scenery is stunning, and the campsites against cliffs are amongst the most wonderful in Southern Africa. There are also Bushman paintings in caves along the way.

DORING_kranz-rapid-50cu-aug2011_IMGP7772What will the expedition involve? Basically, everything that guides need to master in order to run a professional operation from start to finish. How to plan, organise, pack and get on the river. How to read the rapids, set up safety, do rescues and carry out emergency drills.  Working with a team. Dealing with the unexpected. How to manage the camping, catering and waste. How to communicate with clients (yes, we expect there to be clients on the trip) and how to develop nature specialities that make you a more interesting guide. Finally, how to report back and review the lessons of the trip.

All of this for a mere R950+ VAT is a gift. Clients pay thousands for the same experience without the training.

You’ll get a certificate of participation. If you are registered for the Generic Adventure Site Guide skills programme, your logged days and experience on the Doring will count in your favour. It adds a whole new dimension to your knowledge of rivers.

Call 084 245 2490 or email to book.


Amendments to allow Registrars to prosecute illegal guides

The various provinces are busy passing legistlation which will provide additional powers to Provincial Registrars allowing them to prosecute illegal guides. The previous act required registrars to report guides to the SAPS who then prosecuted them, but the new amendment will allow the Registrars to issue spot fines.

See for the full story.

Accredited Qualifications – Says Who?

AQ Says whoI have heard a number of stories recently regarding organisations and individuals offering so called “Accredited Qualifications“. This is great that people are out there trying to improve standards of training in the industry, but there is a problem…

Many of these ‘offers’ are for training that holds no formal accreditation in South Africa even though they have the label. So who are they accredited by? Continue reading Accredited Qualifications – Says Who?

Adventure tours and negligence

elevator surfing
Elevator surfing

Every year, someone comes up with a brand-new kind of adventure – usually more risky than the last madcap idea. First there was base-jumping with a parachute from cliffs, towers and monuments. That’s illegal in many places. Not satisfied with the level of risk, urban crazies (they sometimes call themselves “street activists”) are trying to reclaim the concrete jungle for real adventure with sports like Geocaching, Elevator Surfing and Drainboating. More on these weird challenges later.

Where does innovation in extreme sports take adventure tourism? Many enthusiasts would like to introduce their passion to paying clients. What better way to earn your living. But careful! Accidents can be very costly.

Let’s first look at the general problem. It’s great that at last adventure professionals can get qualified to work legally in South Africa under AQN’s Generic Adventure Site Guide (GASG) skills programme and assessments. But what about new, uusual, or  unregistered adventure activities? You don’t have to leap from skyscraper to skyscraper to be doing something the officials have never heard of. But out there are the experts who established whatever new activity is involved, who have taken their falls and been around the block a few times. These are the Subject Matter Experts (SME), or we hope they are, and it’s on them that would-be guides would have to rely for training.

That raises another problem. The guide may become an expert in his or her own right – but is it safe to induct tourists into truly innovative experiences? Adventure has been defined as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks”. There’s a good article about this in Wikipedia which sets out to explain adventure education programming. It’s said to be a challenge involving possible harm and uncertainty: in other words, you can Continue reading Adventure tours and negligence

Setting up township tours

Parys sangomas dressed in their finery

Some years ago I ran a township tour for half a dozen Sudanese journalists visiting Parys. We went to Tumahole and the visitors had their fortunes told by Sangomas throwing the bones and going into trances. After the throwing of the bones there was a throwing of dollars into the same pile.

That was a once-off tour. It’s only when you set out to start a new township tourism business that you realise how much needs to be done – and how many skills, and connections, are involved.

I’m currently helping a guide, Shadrach Qwele, to get his accreditation as an NQF-qualifed tour guide for Tumahole. He has years of experience guiding with me in the Vredefort Dome and on the Vaal & Orange rivers. He has already developed the township tour and proved that he has all the people skills, the business sense and the enthusiasm needed to make a lasting success of things.

Things are happening on the local scene with the founding of a new tourism association and promotions planned for Heritage Day in September. So it’s a good time to get going. Continue reading Setting up township tours

Legalising mountain bike guides

!activities mtb grassyfieldIt’s surprising, to say the least, that in South Africa – a country with a huge and fanatical following of mountain bikers – we don’t have an MTB Tourist Guide certificate. Well, time to change that. With thousands of tourists pouring in from abroad and many more locals wanting to be led on our wonderful single-track trails, the need for qualified professionals is increasing every year.

There are many actually working as MTB guides, illegally. Quite a few companies exist from the Cape to Cairo. In SA, the Tourism Act makes it clear that to be a guide of any kind, conducting tours for gain, you must be qualfied and officially registered. But here’s the catch: there’s no formal qualification for mountain biking (as well as numerous other adventure activities where people are being guided, such as river tubing). There are no specific MTB Unit Standards (US) under the National Qualifications FrameworMTB RECREATIONAL TRAIL DSCN3271k (NQF).

So guides are in double jeopardy: on the one hand you can be arrested, fined and even jailed for working illegally. On the other hand if you did have an accident of some kind the fact that you were not an officially registered guide could lead to punitive damages claimed by the offended party. They would win hands-down, especially if there was already a criminal judgement against the illegal guide.

I’m determined to pursue the issue and get our MTB fraternity onboard with tourist guiding. As I run trails myself, everything I’ve said applies to me too.

What’s the solution? Read on… Continue reading Legalising mountain bike guides

Qualify as an adventure guide

Adventure-Guide-Qualification-Logo-flatDO IT OR YOU ARE ILLEGAL! At last South Afriadventure guide and clientca has a Generic Adventure Site Guide qualification. This is a national qualification at Level 4 on the NQF system. Details here. It includes generic Unit Standards and allows you to qualify with outdoor specialities that you select for yourself. The Adventure Qualifications Network (AQN) has set it all up after years of working on a programme to cover all key adventure guiding skills from campcraft to risk management. If you already have experience you can fast-track into the system. And you can do it online. It isn’t a cake-walk: you have to prove your competence and there’s paperwork. Want to know more? Click the red FEEDBACK strip at left or ask us for advice.

Licensing of paddle craft and river leaders

SAMSA logoA new situation has developed in the paddling industry, with an agreement concluded between the African Paddling Association (APA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). A notice issued by the marine authority (4MB) outlines what is to happen. Basically the agreement provides for the official regulator, SAMSA, to licence river craft at fees far less than would have been charged to individual boat owners. The notice also provides for Trip Leaders to be formally recognised through APA. River operators are required to join APA to gain the cost savings and to accept the standards set by APA.

  • Important is that SAMSA inspectors may need to acquaint themselves with the nature of our industry, the boating craft, the whitewater challenges and the way of working. We aren’t on the sea or lagoons (or not very much) and our skills and rivercraft are highly specialised for inland waterways that move!

The agreement and official notice set a precedent for outdoor adventures on water. By recognising APA and endorsing the right of the association to register and represent all operators, the marine authority has acknowledged the importance of voluntary associations that regulate their own affrighttop_crocodileairs. It has been a hard struggle in South Africa to bring official bodies around to this open attitude.

The annual licensing process will entail numbering every boat and paying a fee of R780 an hour (by perhaps 2 hours) for the official inspection. Operators are warned not to show any boats that are not in fact working on the water. They must also comply with certain other equipment requirements and show that they are c0rrectly set up for operations.

The APA and SAMSA deserve congratulations for working through what must have been detailed and difficult issues. The emphasis on safety, good practice and accountability among paddling operators is indeed welcome and long overdue for official endorsement. It should help to promote a far better professional image for the industry and boost research, marketing and co-operation.

The Operating Standards for Flatwater and Swiftwater and the Safety Briefing (included in the marine notice) are a major step in the right direction, requiring compliance (at long last) with professional standards. Codes of  Safety and Practice have remained virtually unchanged since  the late 1990s and will now have official status.

As a service provider to guides and operators, Adventure Standards Africa (ASA) is taking detailed legal advice on aspects of the agreement and marine notice and will report back to you. We are available to provide advice and insight into the industry.

– Graeme Addison

Want to know more? Click the red FEEDBACK strip at left or ask us for advice.

The Wild Professionals

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