We asked the public for their lists of the best rivers to raft in the world. We were surprised by the names of the rivers that were NOT on the list! But these rivers deserve equal place in the summary. So, following our research as well as communication with many distinguished names in rafting and respected public opinions …. it’s time to give our conclusion.
The decision criteria:
Consideration was taken of: the width of the river, depth, speed, colour, geographical location (lying north or east/ south or west is important in the northern or southern hemispheres), the chances of survival in some of the rapids, how curved it is, whether there are stones and what size, whether the river has piranhas, crocodiles or garbage, the length of the rafting section, number of waterfalls, rapids … and while I’m kidding with you on these criteria you may have started to realize that there is no specific criteria that makes any river the best!
It is difficult to classify nature’s miracles under titles of 1, 2, 3…, because it is the combination that creates a number 1. The indescribable power of nature to regenerate the human soul is infused in every river and each is given a certain beauty that enchants us. No one river gets it all!!! It is mostly ego, adrenaline, local vanity and marketing of some rivers above others that will allow anyone to assign a 1 to 10 to any rivers.
So to get back to the conclusion of the responses – there is no simple conclusion. There are many people who have paddled the most popular rivers of the planet, and were sincere in why they separated the rivers in certain ways, but the eventual answer I got was that is difficult to extract the top 20 rivers, never mind trying to put them in an order from 1-20, because every one gives something extraordinary.
Some rivers enjoy massive, high waves; some have waterfalls, or passing through caves; a pile of stones to avoid; the most famous places on the river that tumble the tourists around; some are part of the canyon that take your breath away; many are still not as popular as others but still not worth any less!! Some have geographical locations that present great difficulty for access for commercial tours; others have up to 10 thousand people in one day ….. each deserves a mention, and all of them can be used to refine our souls.
Because of the work that I do, I have learned about the many rivers of Russia to Chile, from Canada to New Zealand, from the North to the South Pole, and every year I find some new ones to put on the bucket list of “mandatory to paddle” (already a long list and at this rate I’m going to need a lot more life to do them all!) And yet, I still do not know all the rivers of the world, nor would I dare to make the list of the top 10. What about those rivers that are so disfigured by man that we can no longer use them?
Many rivers that have been on people’s top lists are now impossible to paddle because the rapids are now submerged by a dam. Many famous / popular names are threatened by dams, and that list is now looking like the list of “Paddle now or never!!” Every few years we need to adjust our lists because “Oops, this is below the dam!”, “Let me see … and this one too”, this has become a race against time to protect these rivers around the world.
So it seems that instead of wasting time in deciding which is the best, it is more urgent to preserve what is left, to fight so that no river is dammed or polluted. For most people the popular river names used to be praised as the “best”, but for those who really enjoy the rivers and paddling, names are not important but being able to spend more time paddling on the water. And so it is important that we fight equally for all rivers so that we can leave them in a decent condition – a legacy for generations to come – eternity, to flow freely and cleanly. Join the fight and sign some of the petitions because this won’t happen without YOUR input!
Follow us because we will present the many rivers of the world to you, many you may not have known about, and that will delight you.
The IRF – it’s about rafting around the world, about ALL the rivers around the world! Enjoy every stroke and every moment spent on the rivers.