Do you love water? To jump from high cliffs and be swept away by ice-cold but crystal clear water? If yes, then you should definitely try aqua-trekking in Gorges du Verdon.
Aqua-trekking is one of those activities you didn’t really know existed before stumbling across it on the internet. But once you’ve done it, you want to do it again.
When we started googling “activities in Gorges du Verdon”, we were presented with a lot of options such as canoeing, river rafting, canyoning and aqua-trekking. We really liked the sound of aqua-trekking because is sounded challenging but still safe, so we booked the “Family aqua-trekking trip” with a company called “Raft Session”.
The Raft Session website promises a kid-friendly route that slowly increases in difficulty, the possibility to jump from up to seven meters high cliffs and professional instructors. And that’s exactly what we got.
Raft Session is just one of many companies that make a living helping tourists explore Gorges du Verdon in different ways, and it seems like they are all pretty busy, so I would recommend booking whichever trip you want to go on well in advance.
The right equipment
The water in Gorges du Verdon is very cold, so you need the right equipment if you want to enjoy bobbing around in the water for a couple of hours. Luckily, Raft Session provides you with wetsuits, helmets, life vests and swim socks, but you have to bring your own shoes, and flip flops, sandals and other loose-fitting footwear won’t cut it. That’s because the trip starts with a drive and a 15-minute long walk (in a wetsuit while the sun is beating down on you) down gravelly paths to get to the water. Once you’re there, the cold water feels like a kiss from an angel!!!
So, aqua-trekking in Gorges du Verdon is not hard, but there are a few rules you have to follow. One of them is not standing up in the middle of the river as it upsets the eco-system at the bottom of the river. Our surfer-dude-guide was very clear on that rule, and when our oldest son forgot and stood up, he got surprisingly stern with us. “It is NOT ‘AARD”, he said, while we let the shame settle in us. But we liked his tough love – it just meant he actually cared about the place.
We found that the route we took downriver was perfect for our boys (8 and 10 years old). They are used to being in water (I forced them to take swimming-lessons until they could swim), adventurous and not afraid of trying new things.
The first stretch on the route is very calm, which gives you time to get used to the current, water and how to navigate. The only “wild” rapid is at the end of the tour. Once there the guide was very good at explaining how we got through it without scraping our backs or hurting our heads.
The duration of the “Aqua-trekking family trip” is about two hours, and you float about two kilometres downriver before ending in a big basin of water. From there you climb a lot of steps and are driven back to Raft Session where you can change and get all your stuff.
I’m sure most of the companies in Castellane are great, but we really liked going with Raft Session and can recommend it to anyone. The guide was knowledgable, helpful, fun and great with kids.