Olifants River – Introduction

The Olifants River is a major river of Mpumalanga, with paddleable stretches in the High- and Lowveld. The upper stretches are unfortunately dam-controlled. Most of the paddleable sections go through unspoilt gorges, providing stunning scenery. Loskop Dam and the whole section below it has hippos and crocodiles, making it less suitable for water-born expeditions. It eventually runs into the Limpopo River.

Apart from the Wilge, the Olifants has another major tributary, called the Little Olifants. The Little Olifants is paddleable after good rains, when it is continuous but not too steep. Strainers are a problem on this river, as the river does not run most of the time and the vegetation has invaded the riverbed. Few paddlers ever attempt to run it and it is not described in detail here.