Elands River – Waterval-Boven to Sappi

The Elands is a small tributary to the Crocodile River. It is famous for its waterfall at Waterval-Boven, which has become a tourist attraction. The Elands is easily accessible as the N4 runs along it all the way from Waterval-Boven to Montrose, making different put-in and take-out points possible.

The section described here is quite long, and only worthwhile to paddle at medium to high levels. When the water is up, expect a fast, exciting run. The section used to be very tight with some tree-blocks, but flash floods have scoured it open. It does not mean that there are no strainers anymore, so always be wary.

  • Ideal for: Kayak
  • Grade: 3
  • Length: 22km
  • Duration: 3 to 5 hours
  • Type: Narrow, continuous gradient
  • Put-in: Walk down from the parking area, 1km below tunnel at Waterval-Boven. At lower water, walk down from Waterval-Onder where the road comes close to river.
  • Take-out: Bridge at Sappi factory
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: None

MAP 47

The first section, from Waterval-Boven to Waterval-Onder, is the steepest and most enjoyable, but only consider to run this section when the water is really high.

The last 8km of the section, from Saragossa to the Sappi paper mill, is the tamest part, and also paddleable by competent K1-paddlers. It is possible to use Saragossa as an access point, but ask permission first. Beware of a very dangerous low-level bridge next to Saragossa, it should be portaged.

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