Bushmans River – Estcourt to Weenen road

This is the most often used section of the Bushmans. The 5km course used for the wildwater races starts just below the weir at the put-in. The rapids are not big but fairly technical with short pools between the rapids. K1 races are also held on it, starting from this weir. All rapids can be read from the top; getting out for scouting is not necessary.

  • Ideal for: K1, kayak, slalom and wildwater racing
  • Grade: 2 to 3
  • Length: 20km
  • Duration: 3 hours in a K1, 5 to 7 hours in a kayak
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: Lamberts Park weir. Drive out of Estcourt over the river. Turn left at the first road just before the Estcourt bacon factory, keep going left on to a dirt road that leads to the weir.
  • Take-out: On the road from Estcourt to Weenen. Where the road comes very close to the river, there is a farm that can be used. The farmer is friendly, but first ask permission.
  • Dam controlled: Wagendrift Dam
  • Permits: Permission for take-out

MAP 36

There are a few take out points that are closer than the Weenen road, but they are all on private farmland where access has to be arranged. The trip is a bit long for kayakers, who are advised to contact some of the local paddlers to arrange a shorter trip. One possible take out for a shorter trip is on the Kemps road just after the Fort Dunfurd museum. There is a very helpful information and tourism office in town near the town hall where you can get as much information as you want.

This section of the river especially on a medium to full level is one of the classic play rivers in KwaZulu-Natal.

This river description is taken from my book “Run the Rivers of Southern Africa”.
If you have any pictures or recent information on this section of river to share, please contact me:
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