Tugela River – Red Ravine

The Red Ravine is another classic stretch of the Tugela, and a couple of commercial trips have also been done here in the past. It is not as isolated as other parts of the river, and the locals are not all friendly, so care should be taken of one’s valuables.

  • Ideal for: Kayak, raft
  • Grade: 2 to high 3
  • Length: 30km
  • Duration: Long 1 day, easy 2 day
  • Type: Pool-drop
  • Put-in: Tugela Estate bridge
  • Take-out: Turn of at school, short road goes down to river above weir
  • Dam controlled: Many tributaries below dam
  • Permits: None

MAP 39

There is some flatwater below the put-in before the action starts. To avoid it, it is possible to drive along the road shown on the map and put in at a store next to the river, just before the road crosses the Bushmans.

The ravine is entered soon after the confluence with the Bushmans. Expect some nice rapids that can mostly be run without scouting from the bank. The first big one is called Farm rapid and has some big holes in it. A few other big ones are also on the way that should be scouted. The major obstacle on this section is Mashunka Falls. It is 2 to 3 metres high, depending on the water level. At low levels there are runnable lines through it, but don’t attempt it if you are not competent enough. At higher levels it forms a big bad hole.

The take out is just before a weir. This section can be done in one day, especially on a high level, but to make the organisation of the trip worthwhile an overnight trip is recommended.

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