This is one awesome stretch to paddle. It is strictly for competent kayakers, as the river is very isolated with no proper access to the river in between the put-in and take-out points. The surroundings are naturally untouched and the rapids are big when not bordering on scary.
- Ideal for: Kayak
- Grade: 3 to 5
- Length: 110km
- Duration: 3 to 5 days
- Type: Pool-drop, few continuous sections and some major rapids
- Put-in: Umzimkulu
- Take-out: Farm at horseshoe bend. Take turn-off to Rock of Gibraltar. Stay left when dirt road splits.
- Dam controlled: No
- Permits: Permission from farmer at take out. Arrange with Oribi Gorge Hotel.
The whole section is continuous with technical rapids and short pools. It is way below all major tributaries and therefore quite wide, resulting in many lines to choose from at most rapids. On the first day one will encounter the Gong-Gong Falls, which is a definite portage. A few more steep rapids on all days require proper scouting before being attempted.
The last 4 hours to the take-out point are pretty flat which is a slog, but the surplus adrenaline built up will help for the last push home. As already said, this section is only to be tackled by experienced paddlers, for whom it will be a very rewarding expedition.
All pictures by Celliers Kruger, unless credited otherwise.
This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
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