The Groot River runs through the well-known Meiringspoort kloof through the Swartberg Mountains, providing one of a few links between the Klein and Groot Karoo. The famed Afrikaans writer Langenhoven did an extraordinary trip through the kloof in the 1920’s with a tram pulled by an elephant called Herrie, which he described in his story “Herrie op die ou Tremspoor”. The current road going through the kloof crosses the river more than 20 times.
- Ideal for: Kayak
- Grade: 3
- Length: 15km
- Duration: 4 to 5 hours
- Type: Boulder strewn, fairly continuous
- Put-in: At a bridge where the road crosses the river, near the northern boundary of the Swartberg State Forest
- Take-out: At a bridge where the road crosses the river, near the southern boundary of the Swartberg State Forest
- Dam controlled: No
- Permits: None
Although the river’s name is the Groot, most people refer to the section plainly as Meiringspoort. The river is only run by the local paddlers, as the water level is most of the time too low. After good rains in the area this is however a very nice trip to do.
The river is characterized by lots of boulders, making for an interesting technical run. Be careful of pour-overs when the water is high, and look out for the odd siphon or undercut. Also be careful at the many bridges where the road crosses the river. It will be a good idea to let the shuttle driver wait at every bridge to give directions as to where to shoot it, and to advise on possible portages.
This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
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