Orange River – Mayaputi Bridge to Aliwal North

This is one section that certainly won’t give adrenaline junkies a rush. Basically, the whole course is flat. It is, however, a very scenic stretch, with views of cliffs and towering koppies. On the last section the river cruises through the magnificent Lichtenstein Gorge, where one is likely to have mirror-smooth water and no rapids.

  • Ideal for: K1, croc
  • Grade: 1 to 2
  • Length: 120km
  • Duration: 3 to 7 days, depending on craft and water level
  • Type: Flat, scenic
  • Put-in: Mayaputi Bridge
  • Take-out: Aliwal North
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: None

MAP 58

There are two rapids close to the start, the first being the Drop, 8km below Mayaputi Bridge, and the next one 3km further, called Snake Bend. They are both easy to shoot. Another rapid called The Chute waits further on, where the river narrows down into a chute and ends in a stopper wave, which can be sticky at some levels. Scout this one first.

The section is a very relaxed cruise when the water is high and one can float with the current effortlessly. Remember that the current can still create strong whirlies at a high level, although the gradient is minimal. Something else to keep in mind is that the water is likely to be soil-enriched after rains, and you will need to carry fresh water along.

Shorter variations of the trip are possible by using farms as put-in or take-out points along the way, but always ask permission first.

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