The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa and the Orange River Basin extends extensively into Namibia and Botswana to the north.  The river is also one of the longest rivers south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

The River basin is the largest river basin in South Africa with a total catchment area in the order of 973 000 km².

orange river

The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Except for Upington. It does not pass through any major cities. The river plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation, as well as hydroelectric power. The river was named by Robert Jacob Gordon after the Dutch Royal House.

Kanoneiland. Kanoneiland (or “Cannon Island”) is the largest island in the river and the largest inhabited island in South Africa.

The Gariep Dam on the River is the largest dam in South Africa, and was a key part of the Orange River Project.

Other Dams on the Orange River (or tributaries)
Armenia Dam
Egmont Dam
Newberry Dam
Vanderkloof Dam
Welbedacht Dam
Waterfalls on the Orange River
Augrabies Falls
Twin Falls

It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.

After rising in the Lesotho Highlands, less than 125 miles (200 kilometres) from the Indian Ocean, the river flows to the Atlantic Ocean in a generally westerly direction for some 1,300 miles. The river travels across the veld region of South Africa, after which it defines the southern limit of the Kalahari and divides the southern Namib desert before draining into the Atlantic at Alexander Bay.  Along its course the river forms the eastern boundary of the South African province of Free State, as well as the boundary between Namibia and South Africa.

Orange River Rafting

A River Rafting trip on the Orange River is all about getting back to nature. The Orange River Gorge is the most spectacular and easily navigated white water rafting section when you go Orange River rafting. The water is warm and the weather naturally perfect ‘all year round.

Nothing beast a trip down the Orange River on a rafting Adventure: explore your limits.

Orange River Cellars

Situated in the northern parts of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, Orange River Cellars offers an extensive range of dry white wine, natural sweet and dry red wine, as well as dessert wines. These wines are successfully marketed locally and internationally and enjoyed by wine lovers and cognoscenti alike.

Paddling Down the Orange river

Float, paddle, drift, raft and navigate the Orange River, through the arid and strikingly beautiful Richtersveld. Blue skies, warm weather and lapping water make for an allround spectacular outdoor experience for the whole family.

On the Richtersveld section, experienced tour operators such as Wildthing Adventures, Bushwacked and Felix Unite provide experienced guides to help you navigate your way downstream, over the long stretches of flat water punctuated by the odd rapids, on these 4-day trips. Sleep under the starlit African sky with raging campfires, good food and great company. Further up river, near Pofadder, Gravity Adventures offers exciting trips on the pristine and uncrowded Orange Gorge and Raap en Skraap sections, whilst just below the Augrabies Falls, adventure operator Khamkirri will guide you through the rapids on inflatable crocs (rafts) on anything from half day to 5 day trips.

Wildthing Adventures
Tel: +27 (0) 21 702 9424
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Bushwhacked Outdoor Adventures
Tel/Fax: +27 (0)27 761 8953
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Gravity Adventures
Tel/Fax: 021 683 3698
E Mail:

Felix Unite:
Tel: +27 (0)21 702 9400