F.A.Q – Canoeing
Need more information to prepare your canoe-kayak trip on the day or on a 2 to 7 day touring tour? You find here what could question you before your departure.
– Practical issues –
– F.A.Q. special touring holiday –
Yes, as long as you know how to swim more than 25 meters and immerse yourself. If the parents are beginners we recommend a small course. Children must be at least 6 years old and be able to swim without assistance, even if accompanied by an adult.
The courses are accessible to beginners, we advise you to start on a 9 km course at first to take your marks with the activity.
We provide you with a lifejacket to wear throughout the course, it is mandatory.
For people with reduced mobility, the activity is accessible to reckless people with an aptitude for sports activities. The person must be able to swim alone and return to the shore in case the boat turns around. Attention, we are in a natural environment, the points of embarkation and disembarkation can be accidental and make access difficult.
The «Minis» courses of 9 km in class 1 (Vayrac-Gluges, Saint-Sozy-Pinsac) are the shortest, so they are the most suitable for younger people or for people who wish to combine several activities in the same day.
The 9 km course in class 2 (Monceaux-Brivezac) is not more complicated, the water is a little brighter and cooler since it comes out of the dams upstream.
The 18 km «Classic» courses in class 1 (Vayrac-Saint-Sozy, Saint-Sozy-Souillac) are not technically more difficult than those of 1h30 but they are simply longer.
It all depends on whether your companion is more of an otter type or hates water!
You’re the only one who knows, but it’s true that if he is not used to this kind of activity, boarding can stress your pet, and it is not impossible for you to turn around during the descent. Beware, too, of his resistance to heat, which can sometimes be high.
If you want to board with your companion, your dog can occupy the middle seat in a dedicated canoe. Please let us know when you book. You’ll be charged €5 per dog.
You will be asked to keep your dog on a leash at the leisure centers and on the bus.
You must remove your dog’s leash and harness on the boat.
Your dog must be sociable to be able to board the bus with other people and potentially other dogs.
Dog life jackets are not provided.
The reservation for a day or half-day trip is not mandatory, but strongly recommended in high season. The availability of equipment cannot be guaranteed to people without a reservation, especially on sunny days!
For multi-day touring tours, the reservation is mandatory in order to block the equipment and reserve the seats on the bus, via the booking platform.
The shuttle is part of your service.
If you plan to leave your vehicle at the point of arrival, the shuttle will pick you up in the morning (ask about available times) at the parking point. Booking required.
If you choose to leave your car at the starting point, the shuttle will pick you up at the end of the ride. The time chosen will be noted on your rental agreement.
Large free car parks are at your disposal to allow you to leave your vehicle at the different bases. These parking lots are private but not supervised.
In summer, a bathing suit, shorts, T-shirt and caps are enough.
In the spring and fall, you have to have a windbreaker, warm clothes to put on during stops. Provide dry clothing to change on arrival.
In all cases, the wearing of closed shoes such as water shoes or sneakers is necessary to walk in the water. Glasses should ideally be strapped with a cord.
Don’t take any valuables you don’t need and risk losing in the river.
Canoeing is 100% fun, so take your time! Take a break! Go down at your own pace, swimming, ricocheting and picnicking on the pebble beaches… keeping an eye on the shuttle schedule. The time of your bus is noted on your contract, so plan to arrive 15 minutes before the chosen time.
Of course, you can bring your picnic and take a break along the way wherever you want. Don’t forget to take water to hydrate yourself.
Nature is beautiful, let’s respect it. Bring back your waste…
The river is a natural environment and its bed moves every year. Its depth varies from a few centimetres to several meters, sometimes very quickly. Be careful and choose beaches with a gentle slope and without too much current for your picnic or swimming breaks. Thus, you will fully enjoy these moments of pleasure.
Tip: you can swim with your lifejacket, you will become the kings and queens of the board!
The difference between canoeing and kayaking is in two aspects: paddle and legs.
Kayaking is an Eskimo invention. The pilot sits inside the boat. He has a double paddle. His legs are elongated.
On the other hand, in a real canoe, we sit on our knees and the movement is done with a simple paddle.
Nowadays, our boats are hybrids between these two types of boats: we sail comfortably seated and we use a double paddle. The boat is usually a sit on top, the legs are free. We are no longer sitting at the bottom of the boat but on the boat. Comfort and safety!
The prices are fixed and calculated per person, according to the age, the type of boat and the chosen route.
The rain does not prevent navigation on the Dordogne.
However, heavy rains over several days can lead to rising waters. Beyond a certain threshold, we will be forced to postpone or cancel your stay. Every effort will be made to ensure your comfort and safety.
In case of an emergency, call the fire department immediately: call the emergency number 18, and geolocate yourself via the SOS button of the Canoe France app. We can tell the fire department your exact location.
If you want to drop out, join one of the pick-up points on the app and call us to schedule your return as soon as we have a vehicle available.
Please note that a surcharge may be charged.
Safaraid Dordogne does not accept any responsibility in case of theft or loss of your personal belongings during your descent of the Dordogne or on one of the various car parks available to you.
If you deteriorate or lose equipment, it will be charged to you. You will therefore have to get closer to your insurance to make your Civil Liability work.
The day before departure :
Welcome at the Safaraid base in Vayrac between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. Drafting of the rental contract, description of your hike (a river map will be provided), handing over of luggage tags for those who have chosen this option, you can if you wish take your barrels so that they are ready for departure the next day.
The following day :
For departures from Argentat, the meeting point is at 8:30 a.m. at the Vayrac base for departure by bus.
For departures from Vayrac, the meeting point is free between 9:30 and 12:00 at the Vayrac base.
An unsupervised private parking lot is available in Vayrac for parking your vehicle.
At the end of your hike, we’ll pick you up at the meeting point and time indicated on your contract.
If you have chosen to book campsites: all campsites are directly accessible by canoe. Just go to reception to be shown to your pitch and to pay for your night. If you need to make any changes to your booking, the campsites are at your disposal directly.
If you have chosen luggage transport: your luggage is collected each day from 11:30 a.m. and deposited at the next campsite by 3:00 p.m. (1 piece of luggage per person + tent folded into a bag + comforters tied together or grouped in a bag).
Each campsite has its own Safaraid luggage room.
At the base of Vayrac you will find free private parking to park your vehicle during your stay.
If you come by train, you can go to the Saint-Denis-Lès-Martel train station and reach the base on foot (you are 4 km away on foot). You can also take a taxi from where you are or hitch a ride if you have some time ahead of you.
If you come by plane, the airport «Brive-Vallée de la Dordogne» is 30 minutes from Vayrac (about 25Km). You can order a taxi.
Depending on your stay and the number of people per boat, we will provide you with a sit on top kayak (1 or 2 places) or a Canadian canoe (2 or 3 places), a 55L can per person included (one of 42L per boat if option of luggage transport), a lifejacket and a paddle per person.
A waterproof map with all the instructions will be given to you at your departure.
Remember to download the Canoë France app to prepare your stay and guide you throughout your hike.
Throughout the route, you will find towns and villages offering shops to refuel. Some campsites along the river have small grocery stores. Plan the first picnic before leaving Vayrac because at the departure of Monceaux you would have nothing until Beaulieu (18km below).
Yes, wild camping is tolerated on the banks of the Dordogne. No fires are allowed.
Respect private properties and their neighbours.
Plan your camping equipment (tent, mattress, down, stove, etc.), clothes adapted to the weather of the moment. Water shoes or sneakers so you don’t get hurt on the pebbles, enough to cover your head and your toiletries. Think of the essentials: sunscreen (or better: UV-T-shirts to avoid polluting our natural environment), headlamp, mosquito repellent and first aid kit.
No, the campfire is forbidden in the Dordogne Valley to prevent any outbreak of fire and protect this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
If you want optimal comfort, let yourself be tempted by hotels and bed and breakfast near the river. You will find addresses via our partner listing but also by preparing your route on a route tracer. Do not hesitate to contact your hosts to organize your arrival, they are mostly used to canoe/kayak stops. You will find what to dock nearby, just think about getting your boat out of the water and plan an anti-theft device to secure it for the night.If you want optimal comfort, let yourself be tempted by the hotels and guest rooms near the river. You will find addresses via our partner listing but also by preparing your route on a route tracer. Do not hesitate to contact your hosts to organize your arrival, they are mostly used to canoe/kayak stops. You will find what to dock nearby, just think about getting your boat out of the water and plan an anti-theft device to secure it for the night.
Board with your essentials for your stay to optimize your luggage. Do not worry about living, you will find as you descend the villages to refuel.
You have room for a 55L can fitted on the back of the single-seater kayak and also the possibility to put a waterproof bag on the front of the kayak.
You have two 55-litre barrels that is provided to you. These boats allow you to load the equivalent of four 55-litre barrels. If you choose to take a canoe for 3 adults, you will not be able to take your luggage with you. Weight destabilizes the boat and falls are too frequent. You will be advised to take a canoe and a single-seater kayak.
Ideally, limit the number of bags, count one bag per person. For small pieces such as duvets or mattresses, make sure to tie them together.
We will stretch out all your luggage before your departure.
It is best to have a lock and chain or even a bike lock to secure your boat.
In France, we have become accustomed to classifying the technicality of rivers from 1 to 5.
Level 1 is accessible to all, as long as you know how to swim. It’s still imperative! It’s always possible to tip over in a canoe-kayak. The rivers have been there for thousands of years, and they’ll be there the next time you come, so if you’re scared, don’t force yourself! It’s best to find a spot where you can meet for a picnic only.
Level 1: the river descends. Untimely reversals can happen! You’ll have to steer the boat, and sometimes you’ll get wet!
Level 2: It’s not for Olympic selection, but it moves! A little practice on lower levels or an introductory course is recommended, but not compulsory.
Level 3: French legislation limits free-ride rentals to this technical level. We’re getting into the serious stuff! Obstacles are not visible, eddies and significant waves.
Level 4: the Olympics, slalom gates to climb, the stopwatch, etc.
Level 5: extreme, the limit of navigability.
Level 6 exists, but it’s more like free-falling!