Orange River – Pella to Goodhouse

It has been said that this section boasts the best scenery of the whole Orange River. That is a debatable point, but it says something about the scenery to be found here.

  • Ideal for: Kayak, croc, raft at higher levels
  • Grade: 2 to 3
  • Length: 90km
  • Duration: 5 to 7 days
  • Type: Small rapids, channels, scenic
  • Put-in: Pelladrif pump station
  • Take-out: Goodhouse
  • Dam controlled: Vanderkloof Dam, Bloemhof Dam
  • Permits: None
  • Commercial operators: Gravity River Tours, Kalahari Adventure Centre

MAP 61

The river is not steep by any means, but it has a continuous gradient, facilitating easy progress on the flatter sections. Channels and islands are abundant, with some easy but long rapids that can’t be scouted and have to be run blind.

The only major obstacle on this section is Khum-Khum Falls, about 60km below Pelladrif. It is a small waterfall on the left side of the river, with small channels feeding it from the right. The fall is runnable at certain levels, but most of the time it isn’t. The best thing to do is to keep right in the channels when you expect to approach the fall, and then to portage around it on the right bank. At high levels the little gorge below the falls fills up and one will not even notice it is there.

It is possible to use Witbank as an access point around halfway, or a farm another 20km down, but it is worthwhile to do the whole section. The river has lots of channels in the Witbank area, and one should stick to the left bank in order not to miss this take-out.

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