Take on the river rapids as you float downstream aboard your circular rapids boat...
|Theme Park||Thorpe Park|
|Park Area||The Jungle|
|Type||River Rapids Ride|
|Opened||1987 (as Thunder River)|
2002 (Ribena Rumba Rapids retheme)
Rumba Rapids takes riders on a whitewater adventure, floating down a river of splashing waves and cascading rapids in circular eight seater boats.
The ride is one of the oldest at Thorpe Park, and originally opened in 1987 as Thunder River. Using sponsorship money from Ribena, it was refurbished and rethemed in 2002 to become Ribena Rumba Rapids. Once the contract expired in 2007, it became known simply as Rumba Rapids.
Rumba Rapids is not the most thrilling of whitewater rapids rides, and in recent years has been significantly tamed down. Riders board their boats from the station's cicular turntable, and then begin their journey down river. The first part of the ride features some fairly tame rapids, before boats enter a long dark tunnel. In past years the tunnel featured cascading water at its entrance, and a large waterfall along its lefthand side. These wouldn't completely soak riders, but they could get some signficant splashes. Unfortunately, these features have been turned off in recent years.
Exiting the tunnel, the boats proceed through a wider section of river complete with a wave machine that produces waves that buffer and batter the boat around. After passing underneath a bridge that carries the entrance queue and exit path over the river, boats take a right hand corner toward the final section of the ride. The boats pass underneath a giant shower head, which used to pour water onto the heads of guests but has long since been switched off. Following this are a series of water jets, but again these seem to be switched off now. Riders soon find themselves at the base of the wooden-slatted lift hill, which brings the boats back up to the station turntable ready for disembarkation.
With almost zero chance of getting more than a small splash nowadays (Thorpe Park seem petrified about anything which might cause guests to stand up in the boats), Rumba Rapids has become a sedate boat ride floating past a few trees and minimal theming. Although some of the Ribena-berry theming was a bit rubbish, at least it gave riders something to look at. For now, Rumba Rapids is one of the tamest rapids rides you can experience, and nearly always fails at the one thing a water ride is supposed to do: get riders wet.
The Rumba Rapids ride entrance
Floating down a calypso current
The view from the entrance bridge
Crashing waves and wild rapids
Choppy waters create a splash
Boats at the bottom of the lift hill at the end of the ride
The lizard above the entrance catches out unsuspecting guests
The beautiful lake alongside the queueline
Circular open air turntable station
Setting off from the station
Entrance to the tunnel
The tunnel waterfall
Concrete pipes underneath the water help create the turbulent waves
The overhead shower in the days when it was turned on
Water jets at the end of the ride
Lift hill back to the station
Occasionally all the boats get stuck!
River maintenance crew
The drained water channel