River Grading for River Rafting in South Africa

Classification of Rivers


Grade 1 - Moving water with few rocks and small waves. Small risk to swimmers and self rescue is easy. - RELAXING TRIP

Grade 2
- Easy Rapids with small stoppers and small drops The line down the rapid may require some maneuvering, but is easy to read. Swimmers are seldom injured and group-rescue, but seldom needed. - MODERATE TRIP

Grade 3 - High irregular waves with numerous obstructions. Complex maneuvering may required. Scouting from the bank may be necessary. Swimmers are seldom injured and self rescue is relatively easy, but group rescue may be required to avoid long swims.- MODERATE TO FAIRLY STRENUOUS TRIP

Grade 4
- Rapids are long and difficult, and required difficult maneuvering. The water is very turbulent and stoppers are powerful. Scouting from the banks is often necessary, Rescue is difficult but essential, and a good Eskimo-roll is required. - STRENUOUS TRIP

Grade 5 - The rapids are extremely difficult, long and very violent, with large drops, narrow passages and complex boulder fields. Scouting definitely necessary. Rescue is difficult, and one's life is at risk if you mess up. A very reliable eskimo-roll , proper equipment, extensive experience and practice rescue skills are essential. VERY STRENUOUS TRIP

Grade 6 - Danger to the utmost degree, You are risking your life if you run the rapid.All previous difficulties increased to the point of practicability. Very confused and violent water, so difficult that controlled navigation by raft is virtually imposssible. Significantly life threatening if swimming and unrunnable by all but a few experts
VERY DANGEROUS

FORGET THE GUIDE GRADE ON THE DAY. INSPECT AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF IF YOU ARE UP TO , AND HAPPY WITH , A RIVER