Each raft has a guide on it, all of whom have river guide qualifications and level-3 first aid training (white-water rafting outfits should offer highly experienced guides, and you are encouraged to enquire whether they meet these standards).
Traversing an 18km stretch of the Ash River will take you about a day (or a half-day on the 9km option). The river has Grade 3 and Grade 4 rapids, including Car Wash, Fish Pond and Big Surprise (so named because the river makes a 90-degree bend and suddenly you are confronted with a waterfall).
Some rafting outfits in Clarens accommodate children on calmer parts of the river. Esplin’s company takes those under the age of 10 out of the raft for the rapids, and they then walk or drive to the next section of the river, where they once again board the craft.
In winter (May to August), visitors are given wetsuits as the water is icy. At this time of year, the ride is called the Polar Bear Challenge.