Through the 1980's water parks started to become more popular and theme parks began to invest in new water based attractions in an effort to compete.  While some parks constructed full water parks adjacent to their properties, others invested in new dry-water slide type attractions to beef up their arsenal of rides.

 
     
 
 
     
In 1991, Six Flags Great Adventure introduced an entirely new water themed area called Adventure Rivers. Intended to take guests around the world while visiting four continents, the new section's attractions were all named and built inspired by the globe's most famous waterways.  One of three new dry-water towers, the African Rivers portion would be built on the perimeter of Adventure Rivers, just opposite the park's Lightning Loops roller coaster.
   
     
     
Built entirely of wood, the African Rivers tower was the first of the three new slide structures to be completed given its proximity to park guests once Great Adventure opened for the 1991 season.  It was nearly fully erected before the Asian Rivers tower went vertical.  The African Rivers featured four straight slides side by side leading to a splash down unloading area at ground level.  The two middle slides were enclosed and the two outer slides were open providing differing ride experiences.
 
     
     
     
     
The two enclosed slides were duplicates of each other, however the open slides were different.  The left open slide had a straight angled drop while the righthand open slide featured a "vertical curve" or double dip which briefly interrupted the downward drop of the rafts allowing for an air-time effect found on roller coasters.  Guests experienced the ride aboard rubber rafts and two conveyor belts carried these rafts back up the tower so that guests didn't have to lug them up the stairs to the loading zone. 
 
     
     
On opening day of the 1991 season, Adventure Rivers was at its peak of construction.  With an intended debut on Memorial Day weekend, planners still had a couple of months of work ahead of them including the installation of electrical controls, landscaping, and queue line configurations.   Bamboo poles still needed to be added along the sides of the dual stairways leading up to the 30 foot ride platform.  As with all three slide structures, only one staircase was used for the queue line.  The other was available for employee usage and as an emergency exit alternative.
     
     
     
     
     
     


     
 
     
     
     
The four rivers represented by the African Rivers tower included the Ruiki, Limpopo, Zambezi, and Oranje.  A detailed map of Africa near the entrance to the ride described key river characteristics and illustrated the location of each of these waterways, making the attraction not only entertaining but educational.

While the African Rivers tower was not the tallest of the slides, it offered one of the most thrilling rides, especially for those choosing to ride the outer open slides. The speed and height coupled with the low sides of the slides made them seem very dangerous.
   
     
     
African Rivers Technical Information
Number of Rivers: 4 Slides
Slides (Left to Right): Ruiki Rush (open)
Limpopo Plunge (enclosed)
Zambezi Zoom (enclosed)
Oranje Falls (open)
         
  Height: 30 feet
Length: Open Slides -
240 feet with vertical curve
Enclosed Slides -
235 feet with 110 foot tunnel
Speed: 30 mph
Height Requirement: Under 42" with Adult
 
     
     
     
 
     
   
     
The African Rivers, along with the other slides of Adventure Rivers, had a broad appeal to guests of all ages. Families could enjoy the rides together, sharing mild thrills and cooling off on hot summer days.

The rafts afforded parents an opportunity to ride along with their child assuming that combined they didn't exceed the 300 pound weight limit.  Best of all, guests could experience the ride in their street clothes and not have to change into bathing suits.  While they did get wet, mostly from water coming in over the sides of the rafts, the wet factor was typically more than a flume ride but less than a rapids ride.
     
     
     
     
While the Adventure Rivers slides were quite popular, they were removed before the 1999 season to make way for the new Looney Tunes Seaport children's area.   African Rivers along with the North American Rivers an Asian Rivers were demolished and not relocated to another park.  In 2000, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park was introduced making up for the loss of the Adventure Rivers water themed section of the theme park.  
     
     
     
Original Spotlight:  May 18, 2007; Updated:  January 9, 2017.  GAH Reference #:  RIDE-1991-001
     

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