Sail downstream through the crashing waves and white water rapids of the Congo River in Katanga Canyon.
|Theme Park||Alton Towers|
|Park Area||Katanga Canyon|
|Type||River Rapids Ride|
|Opened||1986 (as "Grand Canyon Rapids")|
31 March 1992 ("Congo River Rapids" retheme)
|Designer||John Wardley (1992 retheme)|
Congo River Rapids gives Alton Towers visitors the chance to ride down white water rapids and past waterfalls on a round rubber raft, although they're likely to end up soaked as the waves crash over the boat and straight into their laps.
The rapids ride, originally known as Grand Canyon Rapids, was installed in 1986 in the old Aqualand. In 1992 after Tussauds took over the park, the ride underwent a retheme as part of John Wardley's design for Katanga Canyon. Since then it has been known as Congo River Rapids, and have taken on a colonial African river theme.
Rapids rides are unpredicatable in terms of how wet you can get: sometimes you'll come off completely dry but at other times a trip down Congo River Rapids will have riders getting a soaking as multiple walls of water fall into the boat. If that weren't enough, non-riders can pay to fire water guns at the boat from the sidelines.
One of the iconic images of Congo River Rapids is the wall of waterfalls which boats float between, coming perilously close to crashing into the sides and drenching everyone onboard. Sadly, these were turned off during the 2017 season as riders would often stand up in the boats to try and avoid getting wet.
Another great feature of the ride is its tunnel, which is shared with the Runaway Mine Train. When a train is passing through at the same time as a boat is floating past, there are often some great interactions between guests on both rides.
Lovers of 80s TV shows may remember an episode of Treasure Hunt, which saw Anneka Rice taking a trip down the original version of Grand Canyon Rapids with her camera crew.
The ride is extremely popular, especially on warm summer days. At these times, the snaking queueline can easily stretch to over an hour long.
Congo River Rapids ride entrance
Taking a trip down the river
Journeying through the Congo
Congo River Rapids ride station
Continuously revolving circular loading platform
A boat leaves the station
Beginning of the journey
Watching from the queueline
The boat floats past the station
Passing under the queueline bridge
The water flows rapidly
Past the Pizza Pasta restaurant
Through Katanga Canyon
Congo River Rapids passes next to Runaway Mine Train
Sunny day for a boat trip
Continuing down the river
Through the old waterfall section
Floating between the rockfaces
In the old days when the waterfalls were turned on
Gallons of water crashing down
Sometimes only one side of the waterfalls worked
The full waterfall effect
The waterfalls have been switched off for the last few years
Congo River Rapids passes close to Wicker Man
Alongside Wicker Man's lift hill
The white water adventure continues
Nearing the end of the trip through Katanga Canyon
Guests compare how wet they got as they near the end of the river
Sometimes a queue of rapids boats forms waiting for the lift
Travelling up the conveyor belt lift back to the station
Disembarking onto the circular platform
An old Picsolve sign ... with a missing apostrophe!
Katanga Canyon theming
Onboard one of the old rapids boats
A night ride on Congo River Rapids