Wilge River – Zemvelo Reserve to Zusterstroom

The Wilge is one of the major tributaries to the Olifants. It has a couple of interesting stretches for both kayakers and K1-paddlers. This Wilge should not be confused with the other Wilge River that runs into the Vaal Dam.

This is an interesting section with fairly technical rapids and two waterfalls.

  • Ideal for: Kayak
  • Grade: 3 to 4
  • Length: 25km
  • Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: At low-level bridge on private farm next to Ezemvelo Game Lodge, outside Bronkhorstspruit
  • Take-out: Bridge close to Zusterstroom
  • Levels paddleable: If water is not running over low-level bridge at put-in, it is too low
  • Dam controlled: Premier Mine Dam
  • Permits: Ask permission from farmer

MAP 45

The first waterfall has a sneak all the way down the extreme right-hand side. It is a gentle slope, almost 2m wide – just take care not to fall off the edge. It can also be shot in the middle or anywhere you dare. Its shape is a kind of very gentle horseshoe, and it is only about 3m high.

The second waterfall is higher, about 4 to 5 metres. It has a few possible lines, but scout properly before attempting it.

The last rapid before the take-out is very long with a couple of pour-overs, and has caused many swims at higher levels.

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