A COLLECTION OF RIVER VALLEY EXPERIENCES TOLD THROUGH THE EYES OF THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THEM.
“We learned something new every day, had a lot of fun, felt revitalized by our experience, and hope to schedule a future trip that will take us all the way to the sea. Or anywhere, that keeps us “out there” for longer.”
“The Great Escape”
A one day rafting trip on Rangitikei River, three years ago, was all it took. We were captivated, and felt compelled to return. So, three years later in 2015, we – a family of three from South Africa – found ourselves back at River Valley, this time for the three day Mokai Canyon trip.
Driving through the scenic Rangitikei countryside to the Lodge is a pleasant run-up to any river trip. After a warm welcome and a generous, delicious meal, we settled in to our cabin for the night and listened to the river’s sounds, with a sense of anticipation and excitement.
The morning saw us setting off with our very capable river guides, Brian and Richie – a mini flotilla of two gear-laden rafts and an inflatable kayak. The chill spray and rush of the water is instantly energising; and your attention is quickly focused on the river’s flow – wild and white, mildly ruffled, slickly swirling, or calmly clear. When it is quiet, you take in your surroundings: towering cliffs, canyons and hill sides, shoals of fish darting past the rafts, wild ducks and ducklings at the river’s edge, birds of prey wheeling in the vast blue sky, the countryside’s diverse plant life. You feel the stillness, serenity and presence of the place. It’s also a time for conversation, about most things under the sun. Then there might be an interlude of rapids, providing some challenge, invigoration and a mild adrenalin dose.
“The chill spray and rush of the water is instantly energising; and your attention is quickly focused on the river’s flow – wild and white, mildly ruffled, slickly swirling, or calmly clear.”
A midday break offers the chance to refuel with a substantial and tasty lunch on the riverside, to feel solid ground beneath your feet, to have a cooling swim or walk a sun-dappled track to a pristine waterfall. Back on the river, the afternoon takes you ever closer to your overnight campsite, where tents are pitched and a meal is prepared. A time for enjoying the softening light of the day, feeling the night settle in, sharing reflections on the day and trading stories around the campfire. And, later – comfortable sleep.
Many features of this trip enhance the experience. Being a multi-day trip, there is time to attune to the rhythm of the day, to appreciate a less-driven pace than most of us encounter in our usual routines. Each day allows space for being on the river, off the river, doing your own thing, and enjoying the companionship of the group. Brian and Richie are not only professional and competent river guides, but they also willingly share a wealth of knowledge about the Rangitikei area, its history, flora, fauna, geology and conservation initiatives. And they are great company … and good cooks!
It is too difficult to pick out a “best” highlight of our trip; there are many. Among them, in no particular order: being in sole command of the inflatable kayak; the abundance of material for a keen photographer; taking time out to bungee jump at Gravity Canyon; watching a tiny duckling swimming underwater alongside the raft; the sumptuous meals and end-of-day drinks; interesting conversations; the blackness of the nights and brightness of the stars; the morning and evening views from the campsites; the thrill of feeling the river’s flow beneath you, each time you get back on the water; Richie’s gift to Jordan of a fossilized shell.
In short, we learned something new every day, had a lot of fun, felt revitalised by our experience, and hope to schedule a future trip that will take us all the way to the sea. Or anywhere, that keeps us “out there” for longer. And we would, without hesitation, recommend a River Valley multi-day rafting trip to anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of being outdoors.
Richard (father, age 52), Marianne (mother, age 57) and Jordan (son, age 23)
“… share a wealth of knowledge about the Rangitikei area, its history, flora, fauna, geology and conservation initiatives. And they are great company … and good cooks!”
JOIN US ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY DOWN THE BEAUTIFUL RANGITIKEI RIVER