Molenaars River

The Molenaars is a favourite river for Capetonian paddlers, as it is easily accessible and close to Cape Town. It boasts continuous rapids and lots of playspots. The N1 runs along the river, spoiling the scenery a bit, but at the same time providing the unique experience for South African paddlers to be watched from passing vehicles. The surrounding mountains still look superb if you ignore the highway.

  • Ideal for: Kayak, croc at low level, raft at higher levels
  • Grade: 2 to 4
  • Length: 7 km from put-in at low-level bridge
  • Duration: 1½ hour, with playing 4 hours
  • Type: Continuous, open
  • Put-in: 1) Below new tunnel at parking place. Put in at low-level bridge. 2) Du Toitskloof resort (support the restaurant/bar after trip).   33°43’20.9″S 19°09’01.0″E
  • Take-out: Before the river disappears between the trees. Leave vehicle at first gate from put-in next to road (N1).
  • Levels paddleable: When water runs over big rock (with concrete on top) in middle of river at resort, don’t attempt if unfamiliar with the river.
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: Permission from resort. Just ask and be friendly.


The steep overgrown banks and lack of flat pools can result in long swims, as many paddlers will attest. The rapids are challenging without being scary, although at a high level they become quite intimidating. The rapid next to the resort specifically has a reputation for causing swims. A weir halfway down the section should rather be portaged, especially at a high water level.

The river has an extremely small catchment area and is often paddled in rain, hail, snow or a combination thereof, with snow-capped mountains nearby adding to the excitement. It is essential to have proper warm, waterproofing gear when attempting this river.

Detailed trip report on Adrian Tregoning’s blog: Molenaars River – The cold and fast one 

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:
I appreciate any contributions to keep this content up-to-date.