Bushmans River – Wagendrift Dam to Estcourt

This is a very popular stretch for K1 and slalom paddlers. The section is short, merely a practice run for K1-paddlers. Most rapids are small, class 1 and 2, with a few easy class 3 rapids. The flats are a bit long, but the shortness of the section makes it still worthwhile for kayakers to enjoy.

  • Ideal for: K1, kayak, slalom, wildwater racing
  • Grade: 2 to 3
  • Length: 8 km
  • Duration: 2 to 3 hours in kayak, 30 to 45 min in K1
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: Below dam wall. No direct access from the N3, take road from Estcourt to dam.
  • Take-out: Lambert Park camp site in Estcourt
  • Dam controlled: Wagendrift Dam
  • Permits: Ask permission at entrance to dam

MAP 36

A fairly high weir around two thirds of the way can be shot at very low levels, otherwise portage. The weir just before the take-out is easily shootable at low levels, but should preferably be portaged at high levels. Carry around it on river left.

The rapids where the slalom is practiced can be reached by road. To get there, take the road in town past the golf course. Follow the road out of town; where it comes to a sort of a T-junction, turn right to get to Red banks, the first slalom rapid on the banks of the polo cross fields. Please don’t drive your car into the fields as the admin will be upset. Turn left at the same T-junction to get to Black Rock, the second slalom rapid. These rapids also boast some nice playwaves at higher levels.

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