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Cleaning the Elands

What a view.

What a view.

It is the end of the dry winter season in South Africa. No joke – The Southern Hemisphere actually experiences winter mid-year!

This also means that our rivers are at their very lowest, the perfect time to remove obstructions from a river and make it more paddle-able.

This is what I, Jubba and Connor were up to a few weeks ago on the Elands River below Waterval Boven.

Now Boven is one of the top international climbing destinations, but steep cliff faces and gorges also result in steep rivers. This is quite high up in the Elands River, so it is quite rain dependant, but on a previous scout session with my mate Sheena we realized that there is definitely some potential for a fun white water section. Read that story here.

We kicked off with a 60 meter abseil next to the waterfall, with help from our friends at Roc ‘n Rope, and armed to the teeth with saws, pangas (the south African version of a machete) and basic rigging equipment we started down one of the most beautiful gorges in South Africa.

We also made use of the opportunity to do a miniSASS river health assessment below the waterfall. Go find it on www.minisass.org. Please make a contribution to the conservation of our rivers by using this very simple tool on every river you paddle!

Our verdict of this river:

  • River type: Pool Drop, narrow.
  • Difficulty: Beginner, but with a few more serious Class 4+ features (easy to portage) and two easily avoidable death trap syphoned rapids (maybe paddle-able for very experienced kayakers at very high level – Class 5-6)
  • It is now (mostly) clean to paddle.
  • Short-ish run, lots of fun, spectacular surroundings.
  • Rain dependant section. Watch the weather forecast before taking the drive. But if all fails, you can always enjoy some rock climbing or technical mountain biking in the area.

Now we wait for Modjadji to bring the summer rains that will transform this river into an action packed adventure!

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Photos courtesy of Johnathan Jubber.

Story by Franz Fuls

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Which Paddle?

Which paddle is the best for your purpose? Triwaters’ Franz Fuls and Canoe Concepts‘ Chad Andrews discusses the merits of different types of paddles.

Which Paddle? from Triwaters Tour on Vimeo.

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Swazi Xfest 2014

Who would have thought that an X-Fest will show its face in Swaziland?

Well, it happened this past weekend. Want to know more? Check out the video!

Swazi Xfest 2014 from The Trailblazer Guide on Vimeo.


Wilderness Epic

A fortnight ago Frank and I headed down to the Assegaai river. Our contact reported that the river was high but has dropped a bit. The rains came late, but there has been a few good downpours in the week, and the forecast spoke of good rains over the weekend.


You may ask why am I so bothered with rain and river levels? Continue Reading »

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Fluid Bamba | Expedition machine

The Triwaters Tour starts 16 January at Breyten, Mpumalanga (South Africa), and ends about three months and 2,500km later at Oranjemund (Atlantic Ocean). Have a look at their choice in boats: The Fluid Bamba: A proven ocean and fresh water fishing kayak that offers much much more.

Triwaters is about much more than just a hedonistic adventure, but rather a full-blown river conservation project. Check out their challenge to adventurers and weekend warriors here, if you have it in you.

Our trusty steeds | Fluid Bamba from Triwaters Tour on Vimeo.

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Jericho Bass Fishing

I am finally breaking the silence on The Trailblazerguide, thats to my sister and brother in-law, Annamari and Jeff Dietrichson who came to visit South Africa for the first time from Texas. I clicked pause on current project, Triwaters Tour for the occasion and promptly arranged a fishing trip to Jericho Dam.

A great day out, spending quality time with family, and landing some bass! Who can ask for more?

Jericho Dam is one of the best Bass Fishing destinations in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa and it did not disappoint. Despite bad weather we landed about eight you bass.

Check out the video!

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Baptism by K1 | The Video

Last week you read the story of my transition from white water kayaking to K1. Here’s the video of the slaughter. Enjoy!


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