River rafting. Not actually my thing. A little too adventurous. But then, I could not get eaten by a shark, get lost on the open ocean or drown in the deep water. It was only a river. There were 2 guides to our group of 20. What could possibly go wrong? We made it to the Amanzi Trails base camp just across the Namibian border, paired up in canoes and challenged a calm Orange River. I had my abiding middle sister paddling with me. We were off to an easy start as we left the shore on a mirrored surfaced making our way downstream without much effort. Dipping the oar, swirling water and giving my upper arms the workout that they needed to firm.
And then things changed. On Day 2 a cheeky head wind pushed back, our steering became uncoordinated and inevitably we went in the wrong direction. Often. By lunch time we had capsized twice and did not have the strength to untangle from reeds lining the river. Grumpy and tired we wanted out. There was no way out but there was the option of swapping partners and making a go for rafting with a different companion. It worked. From there on forward it was all smooth sailing – or rather rafting – and no more capsizing. Even the most difficult rapid – the Sambok – was a breeze. Four days of canoeing, four days of testing my strength, four days of camaraderie in nature. This was as good as a break-away can get. I am grateful for our guides Augustine and Fanie who had such patience with us and produced tasty menus with a smile, I appreciate the foresight of Amanzi Trails for having cold drinks ready at the end of our trip, I am filled with gratitude for sharing the experience with my sisters, nieces, brother-in-law and new friends who joined this unforgettable adventure.