The Suffolk River Stour in East Anglia is the place I grew up. Its meandering course gave our village its distinct character. It additionally led to secret spots shaded by willows, the place I encountered the finned inhabitants of the mysterious world beneath the floor.
My rising fascination with fish led me to check them, then educate, and finally I discovered myself presenting a TV collection, River Monsters, about our planet’s largest and most outlandish freshwater fish.
So, listed here are a few of my favorite rivers — and one of the best ways to expertise them . . .
Fascination: Jeremy Wade, TV presenter of River Monsters and Mighty Rivers, holds an enormous fish
YANGTZE: HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Breathtaking: The Yangtze river in China is the longest river in Asia
One in all eight main rivers flowing off the Tibetan plateau, ‘the roof of the world’, the Yangtze runs south, parallel to the Mekong, earlier than hitting a rock formation and being deflected to the east.
Trying down on the spectacular Nice Bend, you’ll marvel how the historical past of China (and the world) might need been totally different with out this diversion, which has been central to China’s economic system and id.
Methods to do it: Viking Cruises (vikingrivercruises.co.uk) has a 14-day Imperial Jewels Of China cruise, departing October 30, from £3,815pp based mostly on two sharing, together with return flights, excursions and three nights in a Beijing resort, two in Xian, an inner flight, a six-day cruise on Viking Emerald and two nights in a Shanghai resort.
GANGES: HEALING POWERS
Sacred: The holy metropolis of Varansi (above) has lately launched a clean-up marketing campaign
Within the plains of North India it’s a large, sluggish channel, however within the mountains it embodies a unique character. Meltwater (launched by the thawing of snow and ice) from the Himalayan snowfields churns and rushes previous rock cliffs and boulders.
It’s simple to understand why the river is worshipped as a goddess, and to meditate on the purity and cleaning energy of water.
However within the decrease reaches, this most sacred of rivers has been desecrated.
In response, a clean-up marketing campaign was launched lately, and enhancements are evident, notably on the holy metropolis of Varanasi. Lengthy could this proceed.
Methods to do it: Pandaw (pandaw.com) has a 14-night Higher Ganges River cruise on Katha Pandaw, from Varanasi to Kolkata, from £3,963pp with no single complement. Consists of excursions and transfers however not flights.
DANUBE: WHERE BEASTS LURK BENEATH
Cry me a river: The Danube flows by means of ten international locations. Pictured right here is Durnstein in Wachau Valley, Austria
The world’s most worldwide river, the Danube flows by means of ten international locations.
Finest identified for its passenger cruises and postcard views of abbeys, castles and gorges, it’s the ancestral residence of the Danubian (wels) catfish, which might develop to 9ft. And there’s a uncommon landlocked salmon, the huchen, which is coming again due to DIY fish-farming.
Methods to do it: Titan (titantravel.co.uk) has a ten-day Highlights Of Jap Europe cruise on Uniworld’s SS Beatrice or River Duchess, from Budapest to Bucharest, from £3,279pp based mostly on two sharing, together with return flights, transfers, excursions, drinks, gratuities and two nights in a Budapest resort.
ZAMBEZI: WILD THING
Dramatic: Victoria Falls (above) is the most important waterfall on this planet situated on the Zambezi River
Initially seen as a manner into the riches of Africa, the Zambezi has been protected against over-exploitation by its sheer wildness.
The most important waterfall on this planet, the Victoria Falls — or ‘the smoke that thunders’ — meant river navigation was all the time a non-starter.
Methods to do it: AmaWaterways (amawaterways.co.uk) has a nine-night Uncover Africa vacation on Zambezi Queen on common dates all through 2019, together with three nights in Cape City, 4 nights on a wildlife cruise and two nights in Victoria Falls, from £7,531pp (cruise solely) based mostly two sharing.
MISSISSIPPI: SPLENDID ISOLATION
Unimaginable: An aerial view of the mighty Mississippi
Steeped in historical past (Mark Twain, paddle steamers, pivotal battles within the American Civil Struggle), the primary course of the Mississippi today is shut off from the encompassing world: obscured behind levees, solely seen from the bridges that cross it.
Nowadays it’s largely the area of the barges transporting grain, petroleum and coal.
However in quiet corners, prehistoric beasts lurk. In 2011 a industrial fisherman’s gill web set for carp-like buffalo fish entangled an 8½ft, 327lb alligator gar (a relative of the bowfin).
Methods to do it: Mild Blue Journey (lightbluetravel.co.uk) has 11-day paddle boat cruises on American Queen Steamboat Firm’s American Queen, between New Orleans and Memphis, from £2,895pp based mostly on two sharing, together with return flights, transfers and a two-night resort keep in New Orleans
AMAZON: VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Sail away: ‘It’s exhausting to understand the Amazon’s sheer dimension,’ writes Jeremy
It’s exhausting to understand the Amazon’s sheer dimension. The easiest way is to journey at water degree: sling your hammock on a ship at Belém on the river’s mouth and after 5 days you’ll arrive at Manaus, 900 miles upstream — however nonetheless 3,000 miles brief (give or take) of essentially the most distant sources.
Essentially the most attention-grabbing elements are up the tributaries. The two,000-mile Rio Purús, in locations, has a 50ft annual variation between high and low water — giving the chance of paddling a wood canoe by means of tree tops.
Methods to do it: Iglu Cruise (iglucruise.com) has a 23-night Edens & The Amazon bundle on Oceania Cruises’ Marina, from Miami to Rio de Janeiro, departing Jan 21, 2020, from £5,499pp (two sharing), together with return flights, transfers and a resort in Miami.
FITZROY: RIVER OF EXTREMES
Pictured is the Geikie Gorge the place the Fitzroy River carves its manner by means of the Napier Vary within the Kimberley
The most important nice river you’ve by no means heard of flows by means of the Kimberley area of north-western Australia, between mountains to the north and the Nice Sandy Desert.
The estuary experiences a number of the largest tides on this planet, which alternately cowl and reveal the 1,479-ton wreck of the SS Colac close to the city of Derby.
Dwelling to a veritable ‘predator soup’ (bull sharks, sawfish, stingrays, saltwater crocs), skip a swim right here.
Methods to do it: Fishing constitution firm Reel Fishing CQ (reelfishingcq.com.au) has a brand new one-hour Sundown Cruise alongside the River Fitzroy, departing most days at 5pm and 6pm. Adults £19.45 and youngsters £13.90.
FRASER: TEEMING WITH LIFE
The solar units over Fraser River in Lytton, Canada. Lytton is located in British Columbia on the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River
This river drains the southern half of the Canadian province of British Columbia, with its higher reaches within the Rocky Mountains and its mouth in Vancouver.
Because of enlightened administration, it’s a world-renowned vacation spot for leisure fishing.
Along with all 5 species of Pacific salmon, it’s residence to a thriving inhabitants of sea-running white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Specimens of 100lb are generally caught (and launched), and fish of 12ft/1,000lb are current.
Methods to do it: Vancouver Paddlewheeler (vancouverpaddlewheeler.com) affords 2½-hour Uncover The Fraser cruises, together with lunch, in a spherical journey from Vancouver to Douglas Island, from £45.76 for adults and £24.62 for youngsters over 5.
AMUR: A GLOBAL POWER
Amur (above) is the world’s tenth longest river. Jeremy recommends visiting through the Russian metropolis of Khabarovsk
Taking in elements of China and Mongolia, and flowing into the far east of Russia, the Amur is the world’s tenth longest river. Best entry is through the Russian metropolis of Khabarovsk.
Just a few kaluga sturgeon cling on — an uncommon predatory sturgeon that used to develop to large sizes, however the searching of them for caviar has rendered them virtually extinct.
Methods to do it: Personal one-hour cruises by Categorical to Russia (expresstorussia.com) from Khabarovsk, 30 miles from China, price £98 or £32 per individual for six.
- Jeremy Wade’s Mighty Rivers is on ITV at 8pm on Friday nights and make amends for the ITV Hub.