Whitewater Rafting River Grades

Whitewater River Rafting Grades Explained

Many people “aspire” to run Grade V, but in all honesty, Grade V and Grade III can be just as much fun. There is no need for previous experience to run any grade of river or rapid, as your guide team have run these rapids many times and will make expert judgements both on and off the river.
You will be one member of an excellent paddling team that allows you to challenge big whitewater safely, having faith not only in your guide, but in your team of fellow adventurers too. There are a variety of grades of rapid on each river, so even though there are some Grade V rapids on the Zambezi, there are also Grade II-IV rapids as well. If you are unsure what grade of river you would enjoy the most, have a chat to our office team and with their wealth of experience they will guide you to your perfect trip.

Grade I:

Flat water but potentially with small waves. Clear, or having very few obstacles to manoeuvre around.

Grade II:

Small to medium waves with little or no obstruction to the route downstream. Correct equipment and guides should be used.

Grade III:

Many river features evident, including waves, rocks and eddies with a clear passage downstream. However, careful manouevering with experienced guides is required.

Grade IV:

Many irregular sized waves and obstacles including rocks and strong eddies. May need to be scouted, but not if run regularly. Experienced guide required.

Grade V:

Large and irregular waves , long and violent rapids with many obstructions in the forms of stoppers or rocks. May have big drops or steep gradients. Scouting essential and safety in the form of kayak, cataraft or bank based safety should be set up in or below the rapid.

Grade VI:

Commercially unrunnable in a raft. We portage (carry) or line rafts around these rapids.