River climbing or trekking or mountain-stream climbing is an outdoor adventurous hiking activity and is a well known traditional sport in Asian countries like Japan and Taiwan, especially in Honk Kong. This sport poses many similarities with canyoneering, also called canyoning.


River climbing is popular in Taiwan and is generally termed river tracing. In the areas of Yilan and also Hualien river tracing is at its best. Apart from this sport there are many other activities in and around Hualien City. Taiwan people consider river tracing to be a cool and enthusiastic activity. River tracing in its professional form begins from the end of a river and ends at the start. To combat this activity, one would require several skills of survival such as camping, rock climbing and swimming. However, a beginner would find it pretty easy because every river has a different level of its difficulty.

Hong Kong’s Nine Big Rivers is the most popular destinations for river trekkers. It includes the rivers Lotus River (Tai Lam Country Park), Sheng Luk River (Sai Kung), Ping Nam River, Man Cheng Po (seen on the western side of Lantau Island), Ngon Sam River (at Lantau Island near the Great Buddha), Tai Shing River (Tsuen Wan), Ng Tung River (seen in Tai Po), Wong Lung River (at Lantau Island near Tung Chung) and Wan Chung River (Tai Po).


River trekking is slowly gaining popularity in Philippines especially after the opening of the Mapawa Nature Park at Cagyan de Oro, Mindanao, where this activity is considered to be one of the most exiting. This activity includes five challenges to be performed in the river: jumping, swimming, sliding, repelling, etc. This park has been featured on the show Extra Challenge, a defunct show of GMA 7.

South Africa

In South Africa, river trekking is known by the name kloofing and has become popular as a recreational and commercial sport.

The risks involved in river trekking are few but sometimes fatal accidents could occur in regions of steep cliffs and waterfalls. Exhaustion, drowning and getting lost in the course are other risks. The hazards that could hinder this sport are:

  • Weather changes like rainstorms could raise the water levels and speed of the river
  • Rainstorms can reduce the visible paths and shelter or climbing areas within the valley
  •  Humid, foggy or misty weather can lead to low visibility.