RAFTING IN TURKEY
Turkey has some excellent rivers for rafting. All you need to know is how to swim in order to join this high-adrenaline sport where you fight with waves on a small rubber boat. However, on tourist rafting tours, each raft is under the control of one professional guide. The essential equipment is a lifejacket, helmet, waterproof suits and oars.
The water level of the rivers changes according to the season; therefore, the ideal time for rafting is between May and July. The rivers are graded on an international scale from 1 to 6, 1 being calm water and 6 being considered impassable rapids. Even professional rafters struggle on routes numbered 5.
Çoruh Nehri (Çoruh River)
Considered one of the ten best courses in the world, Çoruh River in Artvin is 169 kilometres long and has four degrees of rafting difficulty. The most popular season is May and June. International championships are held here. The 1993 World Rafting Championship and the third phase of the 2003 Turkey Rafting Championship took place in Çoruh River. It is surrounded by the Kaçkar Mountains, where climbing is available. The route mostly addresses professional rafters; however, amateurs may complete the route in 10 days with a guide and with camping facilities.
Fırtına Vadisi (Storm Valley), located in Rize, has a 23-kilometer-long course, rating difficulty levels of 3, 4 and 5. Its peak season is May and June. The 2004 Turkey Rafting Championship took place at Fırtına River, which is among the sites that should be protected according to the World Wildlife Foundation. You can travel from the valley to Ayder Plateau, the tourism centre of the area, Çat Plateau and Zil Castle. Mountain climbing in the Kaçkar Mountains is done here. The route can be completed in an hour and is used by amateur and professional rafters.
Dalaman Stream has become of the most popular spots among rafters and runs for 12 kilometres. The stream has two different levels of difficulty: the higher trail is rated 3rd degree, according to the international levels of difficulty, while the lower trail is rated 1st degree. Thus, it is suitable for both professionals and amateurs. It is recommended for children and for those rafting for the first time. The route can be completed in 2.5 - 3 hours. The rafting season begins in May and ends in August.
Melen River is located in Düzce, close to Istanbul, and the best rafting season is spring. The second phase of the 2003 Turkey Rafting Championship took place here. The 16 kilometer long route can be completed in 1.5 hours and the difficulty level is 3.
İkizdere River is in Rize and has a 25-kilometer long route. It has three different difficulty levels. The peak season is May and June. Several local competitions are held in the river. It is suitable for beginners as well as professionals. The track can be completed in 1.5 hours.
Munzur Stream is located on the Munzur Plain in Tunceli (eastern Anatolia) and has a rafting route of 20 kilometres. The difficulty levels cannot be determined as there has not been any technical survey. The best season is May and July. It is popular among amateur rafters from the neighbouring cities. El-baba camping in Ovacık is where short-term amateurs have a break.
Köprüçay Rafting Center is 11 kilometres down from the ancient city of Selge, in Taşağıl, Antalya. The difficulty levels are 1 and 2. It is among the least dangerous courses, and it continues for 12 kilometres. There are two routes, and it ends at Karabük Bridge after one hour rafting. The temperature of the water is a constant 9 degrees both in winter and in summer. A rafting championship is held every year.
Bekili Stream is located in Denizli with a course of 9.5 kilometres, and rafting is available at any time of the year. The route can be completed in two hours, and the difficulty levels of the river are 3 and 4. It flows at more than 25 cubic meters per second and as such is not suitable for amateur rafters. The five-kilometre-long Mangırınkısık Canyon is at the beginning of the track. The Çal Regülatörü - Hançalar Bridge route on the same river has a difficulty level of 1 and is 11 kilometres long. It takes 2 hours to complete the route, which is ideal for amateurs and tourists.
Zamantı River is located at Yahyalı, Kayseri. Although 21 kilometres of it is suitable for rafting, only 13 kilometres is used. There are eight routes with various difficulty levels, which are mostly preferred by professionals. Değirmenocağı and Yerköprü are the most difficult tracks. The route can be completed in two hours and May, June and July are the ideal months for rafting..
Barhal Stream is in Artvin and has an 18 kilometre long track. The river has four routes with different difficulty levels. The track is completed in two hours. The peak season is May, June and July. There are historical ruins around the stream, and trekking is available.