Water By Nature – How It All Began

23rd January 2019


Water By Nature was born out of a passion of rivers and people. I was working as a ski patroller in New Zealand and saw an advertisement in a local newspaper advertising a Raft Guide’s school run by Queenstown Rafting, previously Kawerau Rafts. Having completed the course, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I used to turn up every day, even if I wasn’t working, just in  the hope, we would go to an extra boat, and I would get to go rafting! After training up for 2 full years in New Zealand,  summer and winter, I decided to travel the world with my rafting. Several years and many counties later, to such diverse and fascinating countries as Switzerland, Italy, Zimbabwe, Nepal, USA, Canada,Australia and Israel, Water By Nature was born.

As time went on, I felt like this was something I wanted to pursue and whilst working in Switzerland, I purchased the gear to start a rafting company and launched our operation on the Zambezi.

Knowing we needed to continually add new destinations to our world of rivers, we set about an exploratory expedition to Morocco. In those days, we had only one set of equipment, so we used to ship it everywhere.We loaded everything in and on my Peugeot 205 including 2 rafts, kitchen barrel, cooler, kayak, etc. We ‘sold’ a trip to 14 people including a film crew on the premise that we would run at least 2 rivers o our expedition. After a few challenges getting out of the UK (that’s another story) we met our guests in Marrakech and had an amazing adventure on the Oum Er Rbia and Ahansel Rivers, the latter, a trip we still run regularly each year.

Running trips in one country would certainly be easier. But it just isn’t my passion. I love the challenge of operating these trips in many different lands and the joy of offering our guests the choice of travelling by river in fascinating countries. Coping with running an expedition to Papua New Guinea and getting all of the equipment there, exploring Colombia for the first time, is what makes this job incredibly rewarding for me.As we grow and expand the business, our wonderful guide team, make running these trips far more enjoyable for me. I never forget where I started though, I rarely forget a guest’s name from the past 20 years as you have all helped me get this business to where it is today.

For me, the constant wish to strive for more is always there, no matter whether it is exploring a new destination for the first time, or working and developing safety procedures and features to make rafting even safer than it already is, make it a wonderful and enriching process.

The travel and rafting industry always present challenges.With a dam now being planned for the Zambezi River, we are sourcing replacement trips and destinations for our client base. With more than 80% of our guests returning for a second trip, we know that adventures are all about capturing that essence of a country.

I love to make things work. I love to make people happy and I love to change peoples lives with the places we take people, experiences we share and fun we have. We look forward to you joining us on an adventure soon.

by Hamish McMaster

Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.

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