n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - White water adventure tourism on the Ash River, South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Kayaking and rafting on white water is viewed as core adventure activity in both the adventure recreation and adventure tourism literature. Additionally, many argue that the activity also represents a segment of extreme or lifestyle sport. This case study of the Ash River, South Africa demonstrates how, with specific reference to white water kayaking and rafting, the boundaries between adventure recreation, adventure tourism and extreme sports are blurred. That is, the various white water activities mutually support one another, with guides, operators and participants 'boundary hopping' between them. The Ash River is shown to be a significant white water adventure site for South Africa due to its flow volumes, speed, consistency, quality of rapids and unsurpassed water quality. Thus, the river draws in both local and international tourists, for some of whom the river was 'bucket list white water adventure site'. The result is that the white water adventure industry generates significant income, direct and indirect job opportunities, for the Bethlehem and Clarens area. The study also examined the demographic and socio-economic profiles of the kayaking and rafting tourists, as well as explored their motivations and experiences. It was found that there are some significant differences between the motivations and experiences of the kayakers compared to the rafters, between male and female rafters and between white and black rafters. Lastly, the age profile of the rafters seems to impact on what activities are undertaken.

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