Orange River 2022

7-day river skills mentoring

This is a special page for those interested in doing one of the 7-day Orange River guide training trips  between April and September 2022 . Although it is designed for guides (both newcomers and those with experience) we will accept friends and partners. You may come as a trainee, for a refresher, or for assessment (if you are ready for that). Anyone 14-65 may attend, male or female.

Here are the basics:

  • Our route is through the Orange River Gorge near Onseepkans, Northern Cape (see map below).
  • In October the weather is starting to get warm to hot, but there can be cold snaps
  • The trips are scheduled for Friday to Friday in each case. Inquire for dates & prices here.
  • These dates are a day before clients arrive and a day after they leave, giving us extra time for training
  • Rapids are class 2-3-4 at normal times but bigger in flood (unlikely in October).
  • Fee – see explanation below. The training is way below client rates.
  • Guides will share the cost of their food which they catered as part of the training.
  • The cost of the trip shuttle to put-in and take-out is covered by the operation.
  • Get yourself to the base camp at Onseepkans, about 220km west of Upington in the Northern Cape
  • You must let us know if you’re interested as training places are limited
  • We will confirm with you and send the invoice for settlement in advance.

Map (click to see)

Course content

What’s taught prepares you for the practical skills certificate. You need that if you intend to qualify as legal adventure guide. You also get 8 days towards your logbook of trips (21 days needed for entry level guiding). The one extra day logged is for your preparation based on our briefing which is sent when you book.

Take a look at the curriculum here.


To organise this trip and get the boats and expedition equipment to the venue is costly. There is a flat fee of R1000 per person for the expedition kit hire. You may bring your own but we need to approve it in advance. The fee covers boat & kit hire, on river repairs, wear and tear, transport, insurances and admin fee.

The training fee is our standard fee of R2950 which covers the curriculum you will find here. It includes the first night at the base camp where there is comfortable camping accommodation and a braai.

Food we estimate at R125pp per day x 7 days.

Staying at base camp for four nights involves a camping fee, for which we charge you only R50 although it’s actually twice that.

The total is therefore R4975 per trainee. There is no way around these very basic costs. You get expert instruction imparting professional guiding skills, along with full kit and all arrangements. There will never be a cheaper training trip.

Commercial clients pay R6500pp for only 5 days – you get seven including the whole package – kit, coaching, food and arrangements. There will never be a cheaper training trip. There is a discount if you use your own kit.

What to expect

Arrive at our camp on the Thursday night afternoon for the course briefing. On Friday and Saturday we go over essential skills (both for newcomers and as a refresher for the experienced). We get on river to practice paddling and rescues. A trip to buy expedition food is organised, and afterwards supplies are packed and made ready.

Clients arrive Saturday night. The next five days take us downriver through increasingly interested rapids over a distance of about 75km in all. Famous rapids include Double Drop, Surf’s Up, Corner Hole, Scorpion, Screwdriver, Bubble & Squeak, Little Falls, Big Bunny and Dolly Parton. On the fifth day around lunchtime we arrive at the take-out and return to base. The evening is devoted to celebrations and awards.

On the last day we clean up and debrief. Guides are given a personal evaluation and advised how to proceed with a guiding career either as freelance or fulltimer.

Watch  videos