Monday, 2 December 2019

Big youth group for two-day river trip

This weekend, we (Paddle With Us) had a big youth group from the Joburg-based Bryanston Bible Church on the river with us for two days. With a group of over 80 paddlers ranging from 10 to 17 (and a few adults), we used a combination of 6-person rafts, 2-person inflatable 'crocs' and our double-seater Vagabond Mazowe kayaks. The planned pace was easy with short distances between start, snack stops, lunch stops and the finish for each day. I had a great team with some local guides from Flo-Pro Rafting, Otters' Haunt and further away from Impact Adventures.

The section that we chose for this novice group was primarily flatwater on the river but with highlights for each day. On Day 1 we stopped for lunch at Candy's Lodge in Vaal Oewer for filled rolls, fruit and copious amounts of iced water. We then went down the kayak chute of the Goose Bay weir. The water level was just right for a fun, safe run. We ended the day at Camp Riverlake where the group slept overnight.

On Day 2, the paddlers enjoyed a few kilometres of paddling and then some kayak games followed by a snack stop at the lovely Kedu River Lodge. The pool was a welcome attraction and distraction from the day's heat.

Then, it was time to go down two rapids (the first runs into the second). At this low water level it is good fun with no scary bits. Shortly after the rapid, we reached our take-out at Bly of Gly, a spot popular with fishermen for hefty catches. We quickly ate lunch before the buses departed to head back to Jo'burg.

I usually paddle a Vagabond Marimba kayak, which at 4.5m long is like a cross between a surfski and a rec kayak. This weekend I paddled a Tarka, a kayak perfectly suited to those who weigh less than 90kg (and still has carrying capacity for gear). This is a superb kayak and is now officially my second favourite kayak from our range. It is a perfect women's kayak as it has an ideal size that makes it easier to lug around and to manoeuvre.

Thank you to Rene for this photo.
This was a super group of teens who were friendly and polite and game for this paddling adventure. It was a good weekend.

We look forward to hosting them on another section of the river next year.

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