Klip River

The Klip River has become a favourite for Gauteng based K1-paddlers, and is also a good section for beginner kayakers. It has a few rapids to get the adrenaline going, it is close to Johannesburg, and always has enough water to be paddled. An annual race is held on it over the full distance described here. There are however more access points to the river, making shorter trips possible.

  • Ideal for: K1
  • Grade: 1 to 2
  • Length: 21km
  • Duration: 2 to 4 hours
  • Type: Long pools, short rapids
  • Put-in: Henley-on-Klip. Turn off to the left when coming from Meyerton, before the R551 crosses Klip. Turn right after 2km. Get in at low-level bridge.
  • Take-out: Confluence with Vaal at the Riverfront in Three Rivers, Vereeniging
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: None

MAP 54

From the put-in at Henley-on-Klip, the river is mostly flat, with the exception of one weir that can be shot on the left. There are a few tree blocks that can be squeezed through at most levels; otherwise a quick portage will be necessary.

The put-in behind the Meyerton sports ground is most often used. The biggest rapids of the river happen to be on the following section, and no bad strainers are encountered. A rapid about 2km beyond the bridge is worth mentioning. It consists of two drops across the river, one 10m after the other. At low to medium levels it is a fun rapid, but the suckback becomes stronger as the water rises. When the level is high, the bottom hole is a killer, and portaging is necessary. At high flood levels the bottom hole washes out and a huge green wave forms, ideal for surfing with a playboat. A nice little playhole forms about 50m below this rapid at low water levels.

There is a weir at the Rothdene campsite, 5km below the sports ground. It is made of a heap of boulders, with a nice and easy chute at all levels. This campsite is often used as a put-in or take-out point.

On the section between the weir and the train bridge 5km further, the only major obstacle is a low-level bridge. At low water levels it is possible to go underneath it on the far right, at high levels go over it in the middle. There is a weir below the train bridge that has a strong suckback at a low level. There have already been some bad swims here, so it is advisable to portage this one. It gets friendlier as the water rises, and when the water is high enough playboaters go there to surf on the wave. This train bridge is easily reachable and serves as another take-out point.

The last stretch to the confluence with the Vaal at the Riverfront is quite uneventful as far as rapids are concerned. There are a couple of tree blocks, however, and a weir that is nasty at some levels (portage on the right bank). One major tree block on a sharp right hand turn can easily be portaged on the right.

The Klip runs close to Meyerton and through Vereeniging. The scenery is not always the best, but there are some pretty sections. Unfortunately there are lots of alien vegetation along the river-banks, and the water is always a bit dirty due to pollution.

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