You can go rafting in les Gorges de la Vézère on the most difficult river route of la Moyenne-Vézère between Vigeois and le Pont de Comborn (Estivaux commune).
The river route is described on this website: Vigeois - Pont de Comborn route (Estivaux commune) .
Once or twice a year, la Base de la Minoterie offers a rafting trips downstream from Haute-Vézère to Treignac. This river route can only be used when there are water overflows permitted by EDF from the Bariousses lake upstream from Treignac. In a normal year, an overflow will take place at Pentecost.
The raft is an inflatable craft that carries 4 to 8 people, including a navigator who supervises the launch and knows the route well.
River rafting is better in high waters, which are most often present in winter and spring. The best time is generally between March and May (high waters and milder temperatures than in the height of winter). But the weather can be unpredictable and it may be that there will be sufficient water in the height of summer, or in the Autumn.
Photo: Philippe Larivière
Requiring less technique than canoeing or kayaking, and always under the supervision of a helmsman, rafting is a pleasant activity that can be practised with family or friends. It is a very enjoyable activity for those who love the river and want to experience nature fully.
For those who have not got sufficient time to reach a good standard of canoeing and kayaking skills, the raft is the only way to discover les Gorges de la Moyenne – Vézère, of class 3, difficult to access even on foot.
The raft is not the only inflatable craft that can be used on the river. La base de la Minoterie also suggests the canoe-raft (also called "hot-dog" or "inflatable canoe"), which is a single or two-man craft. These small watercraft demand a little more technical skill and independence on the water than a raft, but are easier to control on rapid water than the classic kayaks and canoes.
The downstream trips in canoe-rafts are made in groups, with an accompanying instructor in a kayak who acts as a guide.
La Base de la Minoterie provides each rafter or canoe-rafter with a neoprene wetsuit, which is vital for river trips in winter and spring. Suitably clothed and actively paddling, each team member will soon forget the coldness of the gorges.
The strength of Nature’s power which the group will experience, coupled with the beauty of the Gorges de la Vézère, will leave an unforgettable memory.