Great Kei River – N2 to ocean

This long section of the Great Kei River hosts an annual two-day race. To get access to the halfway mark, permission needs to be arranged on private land on the south side, but it is not easy to obtain. For the duration of the race, the organizers take care of that.Ideal for: K1, kayak, croc

  • Grade: 1 to 3 (4 at high level)
  • Length: 80km
  • Duration: 2-day race, 3 to 4 day trip
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: N2
  • Take-out: Mouth at sea
  • Levels paddleable: Look at old causeway just below N2. If the water is level with the top of the pillars, it is excellent for everybody. 6 inches lower, cut-off for everybody. 6 inches higher, only for plastics.
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: None

MAP 24

There are more access roads from the northern side of the river, which is part of the old Transkei. The roads are at their best 4×4 tracks, and difficult to find. Private trippers are advised to take all their stuff with them and do a proper overnight trip.

The section is very scenic and the rapids are not too serious. There is only one weir to look out for, which should be portaged. There is also a 3m waterfall, which is shootable at some levels by competent kayakers. When the water is 1m over the blocks, the river will have grade 5 rapids, and should be scouted properly.

Rapid names include: Pete’s Rapid (which should be scouted on the left), The Waterfall, Mgobozi 1 & 2 (which has big keeper holes at a high level), Pilot Rapid (with a steep cliff with undercuts to avoid), Combi Rock (where an early decision has to be made between left or right), Cascades, Dancing, Island 21 (which has an easy run on the left and a steep drop on the right), etc. Right before Pete’s rapid is a weir with a runnable chute, but scout as always.

There are playholes and waves all over.

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