Most people in Pretoria know about the Apies River, as it runs right through the city, where it is obstructed with dangerous weirs. The section described here, however, starts some 20km north of Pretoria. It is an easy section, suitable for inexperienced paddlers. The Bon Accord Dam ensures a constant flow right through the year. The water level is usually at it’s highest in January and February, at the peak of the rainy season in this area.
- Ideal for: Croc, kayak
- Grade: 1 to 2
- Length: 16 km
- Duration: 6 to 8 hours
- Type: Narrow, pool-drop
- Put-in: Bridge close to Rooiwal Power Station
- Take-out: Pro-Act Ventures
- Dam controlled: Bon Accord Dam
- Permits: Permission from Pro-Act Ventures at take-out
- Commercial operator: Pro-Act Ventures
The river runs though pretty farmland, and the farmers themselves are friendly towards paddlers. Two more bridges between the put-in and take-out points provide access to the river.
The river is narrow with long flat pools and easy rapids. There are a couple of strainers to look out for, but one can manage through them relatively easy at normal water levels. There are also a few weirs and remains of low-level bridges along the way, but at normal water levels they are not too difficult to negotiate. The rapids are mostly runnable by K1-paddlers, but some spots require tight turning, not easily manageable in a K1.
The stretch from the put-in to the first bridge will take between 2 and 3 hours. This part of the river is the least eventful. The stretch from the first to the second bridge has the most potential for fun, and will take 3 to 4 hours if one takes time to play. The last stretch to the take-out will take about an hour. Apart from offering commercial trips on the river, Pro-Act Ventures also has facilities for self-supported paddlers.
This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
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