Polela River

The Polela is one of the Umzimkulu’s significant tributaries. It is a technical creek which is only recommended for competent kayakers with proper scouting skills. There are a couple of waterfalls on this section, but they are easy to be portaged. They can be shot by experienced kayakers, but scout properly and don’t attempt if you are not a hundred percent sure.

The rapids are all runnable but some are very steep and tight. At medium to high levels a few nice playspots can even be found, although most paddlers on this section won’t be too worried about playing. Some of the rapids have nasty pour-overs that should be missed or precisely boofed. If you are not faced by this description, enjoy the ride.

  • Ideal for: Kayak
  • Grade: 3 to 5
  • Length: 23km
  • Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Type: Pool-drop creek
  • Put-in: Bridge where R617 crosses river
  • Take-out: Confluence with Umzimkulu, road comes close to river
  • Dam controlled: No
  • Permits: None

Umzimkulu Polela map

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