For fans of water sport, it’s a great boon that some 75 per cent of the surface of our planet is covered in water. Needless to say this gives the avid kayaker (or sailor or swimmer or diver or whatever else one may care to do on the water) plenty of options as far as water sport is concerned. In fact it can actually be something of a mixed blessing, considering all the opportunities that one has. Bearing that in mind, here are our picks for the dream kayaking holidays.
1. ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. Not simply for the avid kayaker or canoer, this takes it to the next level. This year’s professional competition will be held in the Czech Republic, complete with spectators and bookmakers and people from across the world. Held at the end of August the weather is perfect and the venue is an ideal place to meet like-minded people with whom one might team up for a kayaking adventure.
2. The Dnieper River. One of the longest rivers in all of Europe, the Dnieper once the main artery for the Vikings who regularly left their homes in Scandinavia to explore, trade, and work as mercenaries in regions as far away as the Byzantine Empire and Persia. Their colonisation of the Dnieper River also influence the later formation of such states as Kiev and later what would eventually become Russia. With history and culture, this is surely one of the most exciting paddles in Europe.
3. Scoresby Sound. Sticking with a somewhat Nordic theme, heading to Greenland to Scoresby Sounds, known more appropriately in the local Greenlandic as Kangertittivaq would be the adventure of a lifetime. This inlet was one of the areas first visited by Vikings when they began their eastward explorations. Like the Dnieper it has remnants of a Viking past, but being more isolated and inhospitable it’s still a bastion of wild nature. The area wasn’t even fully mapped in 1822 by the English explorer whose name is used for the sound. Not for those afraid of the cold, the sound is littered in icebergs through the entire year. The biggest appeal is the wildlife which includes the Arctic Fox, Muskox, Atlantic Puffin, and pods of roving Orcas, also called killer whales. Not for the faint-heared, it’s sure not to disappoint.
4. Orinoco River Delta. Unfortunately, in recent years Venezuela (a name meaning Little Venice given to the region by European explorers who were reminded of Venice because of the regions many waterways) has been in the news for rather grim reasons. Nevertheless the Orinoco River Delta offers the kayak nonpareil experiences and the adventure of a lifetime. With waters filled with pink dolphins, piranhas, and caymans, this too is a wilderness that one must be willing to brave. Unlike Scoresby Sound it isn’t frigid cold that would would have to battle but instead the scorching heat and mosquitos. A real challenge but a real reward.