Bushmans River – Weenen road to Weenen

This is an interesting section of the Bushmans River, and is becoming a popular section for KZN paddlers.

  • Ideal for: K1 and kayak
  • Grade: 2 to 4
  • Length: 23km
  • Duration: 5 to 7 hours
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: Next to Weenen road, where it comes close to the river. Private property. Put in at low level bridge.
  • Take-out: Take Buys Street out of Weenen, on the northern bank of the river. At the end of the road is a farm, with the road very close to the river. Riverwise it is 200m upstream of the big
  • aterfall.
  • Dam controlled: Wagendrift Dam
  • Permits: Permission from landowners at put-in and take-out

MAP 36

On the first 15km nice and easy rapids are encountered, with only a few that should be scouted but everything is easily runnable with a kayak. K1-paddlers will have to portage some of, but not all, the rapids. There is lots of alien vegetation on this section, which is a bit of an eyesore for the conservation orientated paddler.

The next 5 km of the river goes through a nice gorge which is pretty unspoilt. The gorge is part of the Weenen Nature Reserve. There are a couple of class 4 rapids in the gorge that might become class 5 at a high level. Watch out of for some bad holes at high levels. One, specifically, at the bottom of a small fall, can be very sticky at most levels.

After the gorge the river flattens out a lot, and a good deal of farming activities will be seen on this stretch. A weir that is runnable at some levels, is thrown in, but first scout. Further on, another weir was built by some unthinking persons on top of a spectacular waterfall, spoiling the appearance of it. When going on to Weenen, portage on the right, but it is quite a slog from here on. Otherwise take out 200m upstream of it on the left.

This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
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