Not-So-White Water Rafting

Finally here we were, packed like cattle and hanging on for dear life in an open truck all geared up in life jackets, helmets and oars, while steep unpaved roads wound uphill and then downhill towards the river: a hugely exhilarating start to our rafting trip in Sukabumi on the river Citarik.

To the riverThe rural country side gave way to forest and then the river was before us. We scrambled off the truck and followed our guides down to the 2 orange rafts inflated and waiting for us at the river’s edge.

Once seated 4 to a raft the guides taught us simple commands such as row forward, row in reverse, and ‘boom’ to sit in the middle of the raft. We sat on the sides of the raft with our feet tucked in the raft to keep us stable. The fast current of the river carried us downstream and we were all very excited.

Big boulders and rocks created eddies in the river and the water churned around us, the color of whipped coffee, with white wave crests that furiously hit against the rocks. We followed the guide’s instructions and screamed in joy and exhilaration every time the raft seemed to fall below us with the water along the rapids. The raft were expertly guided and it was awesome fun with the two rafts trying to bump into each other and trying to splash water on each other.

through the rapidsThe banks of the river were covered with lush green vegetation and dragonflies sparkled iridescently in the air. Monitor lizards lazing on the rocks or swimming were also a common sight. Soon we were half way down the 8 km stretch.

On the second lap of the rafting experience we came to a relatively placid stretch of the river and before we knew what was in store, we had been toppled off the raft. The life jackets kept us afloat and after the initial shock we all enjoyed the dunking. Getting back into the rafts was tough and the guides had to haul us into the boat.At the end, the rafts pulled up on a placid stretch with a thatched hut surrounded by paddy fields and a pile of green coconuts. In that wonderfully idyllic setting to the rhythm of the flowing water we all sat down to enjoy the coconuts, digging in with the spoons to get to the last bits of the tender coconut meat. The fun was not over yet as we were all looking forward to the truck ride back to the base camp. It was akin to an all terrain vehicle ride and a fitting end to the rafting experience.
The base camp had great facilities with bathrooms and a restaurant, where we were served traditional Sudanese lunch. The large LCD TV in the restaurant was showing a slideshow of our rafting pictures and we quickly had them burn a CD with all the pictures for us at a small charge.

Sundanese mealThe tiring rafting and lunch led us to spend most of our car ride back to Jakarta snoozing, although we did stop enroute to enjoy the hot oven baked sweet potatoes (Ubi Madu) and a huge bunch of bananas. We will not forget this experience soon and recommend this highly. For details do visit Arus Liar’s website at

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