The Umkomazana is one of the major tributaries to the Umkomaas. A trip down this stretch is a pleasant paddle with excellent scenery, suitable for kayaks and crocs. Competent K1-paddlers can also enjoy this stretch at a low level if they are prepared to portage some of the rapids.
- Ideal for: Kayak, croc
- Grade: 2 to low 4, 5 at high level
- Length: 16km
- Duration: 3 to 5 hours, depending on water level
- Type: Pool-drop mountain stream
- Put-in: Bridge between Himeville and Netherby
- Take-out: Bridge between Bulwer and Impendle
- Dam controlled: No
- Permits: None
The rapids are close to each other on the middle section, so don’t despair if the river seems too flat after the start. This river will be a good choice for someone who wants to practice his/her scouting and manoeuvring skills. There are a few strainers along the route, but it is possible to manage through them. The scenery is worth the paddle, even for experienced paddlers who won’t be faced by the difficulty of the rapids. At high levels, though, the river becomes class 5, very fast with bad holes and strainers to avoid.
The main part of the river is very isolated, but near the end some friendly local people will be encountered. Some of them speak a bit of English, so it might be a good chance to practice your communication skills.
Detailed trip report on Adrian Tregoning’s blog: Umkomazana – An Unusual Run
This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
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