Wilge River – Verena bridge to Loskop Dam

This is a long but interesting section for kayakers, with stunning scenery. The first half of this trip is on the Wilge, and the second half on the Olifants, with the confluence of the two rivers more or less in the middle. There are continuous sections of easy rapids and a couple of more serious drops that can be negotiated at one’s own risk. It can be done in one day when the water level is not too low, but a two-day trip will do more justice to the experience.

  • Ideal for: Kayak
  • Grade: 2 to 4
  • Length: 28km
  • Duration: 5 to 7 hours
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: Verena bridge
  • Take-out: Just upstream of Loskop dam (where Roan Lodge used to be), near the well-known Kanongat
  • Dam controlled: Premier Mine Dam. Olifants section, also Witbank Dam.
  • Permits: Permit for take-out. Contact the Manager of the Loskop Dam Game Reserve at (013) 262-4190.

MAP 45

The first few kilometres after the put-in are generally flat, before the river enters a kind of a gorge. The cliffs are beautiful here, and come right down to the river. The section down to the confluence is class 2 to 3. There are plenty of channels and overhanging trees that add some spice to the section.

Once one is on the Olifants, the gradient picks up a little bit. There is one small waterfall that can be run, but the line is not easy. The rapids become continuous when the water level is up.

The whole stretch is very isolated, with prolific bird life and stunning views of the cliffs and lush vegetation. This is a very sensitive environment, be cautious not to disturb it in any way. On the last section hippos might be found. They are resident in Loskop Dam, but move upstream into the river from time to time.

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