Class: 2 – 4 (4+ at flood)
Length: 3.1km from top to Lodge, another 5.1km to OUT 1, another 4.4km to N1 bridge, OUT 2.
Gradient: 8m/km to Lodge, 14.3m/km for middle section and 11.4m/km for final section to N1.
Character: Continuous with swift flowing pools, no drop higher than 1m, bottom section sometimes braided and fast with strainers and at high levels some solid holes.
Level: 4 – 40+ cumecs.
Gauge: If the Wittenberg rain gauge has had more than 8mm you can try your luck – DWAF gauge H1E011.
Duration: 15 minutes for top section, 25 minutes for middle section and 30 minutes for bottom section.
Dams: None – this river rises very fast and drops quickly too.


Map, to scale.

Put in: Low level bridge for top section. [GPS 33°43'52"S 19°7'5"E] or else to avoid the ‘boring’ part, put in at the Lodge. [GPS 33°43'21"S 19° 8'53"E] In: 436m. Other in: 411m (lodge)
Take out: Spot near to the N1 (OUT 1), get someone to show you as you cannot see the path from water level [GPS 33°42'44" S 19°11'47"E], or else paddle down to the N1 bridge (OUT 2). [GPS 33°42'9"S 19°13'53"E] Out: 338m. Other out: 288m (N1).
Permits: None, although you should actually have a Wild Card. Lodge owners are friendly – support them and drink at the pub. They make great food too.
Warnings: Very cold water, levels can rise 1m in 15 minutes, loss of equipment is a strong possibility should you swim if it’s high – small eddies and water flowing through trees on the sides. Big holes at flood.

Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Level 5Level 6

The “rock” at Hotel Rapid at the Du Toitskloof Lodge which is an excellent indicator of level… Be very awake when it is covering the rock. Hotel Rapid looks easy from the bank but actually isn’t. You will lose a boat fast here at high levels.

Affectionately known as the ‘Moolies’, this river is one of those Cape rivers that needs very recent rain. There are no dams and the source is only a few kilometres upstream of the put in. It takes usually about 6 hours of decent rain before it begins to rise properly. Once it does, the level can fluctuate quickly. This is a world class run when it is very high or flooding. As good as the continuous stuff in Norway.

One can start 400m downstream from the eastern exit of the Huguenot Tunnel. Don’t start right at the tunnel, as there is a low level bridge to negotiate and at most levels one cannot go underneath. A lack of eddies upstream make that bridge very dangerous. Heading west on the N1, towards the tunnel, you’ll find a parking spot on the right, just after the weigh bridge. Use the parking lot for fly fishermen and walk down the path which leads you to this low level bridge. From here the rapids are very easy – a good warm up if the river is high. If you’re a skilled paddler and/or the level is low then rather put in at the Du Toitskloof Lodge. 4km from the tunnel exit, heading east on the N1, you’ll find the lodge on your left. Walk west and put in just at the start of the long rapid (Hotel Rapid) at the lodge. This rapid claims many people. Although it’s not hard, it’s harder than it looks when standing on the bank.


Craig Rivett on the final rapid of the normally run section. Note the weather in the background. Sun on the Molenaars is very rare. Dress warmly!


Typical winters day at the Lodge. If it’s sunny, it’ll probably be low.


Braam Rademeyer on a sunny day out.


Myself on the waterfall upstream of the normal put in. Photo by Braam Rademeyer.


Braam Rademeyer cruising the drop. Super fun, even at low levels. Be careful at high water. And if you do carry on, be aware that the next rapid is a must run, you cannot portage. Luckily it’s simple, but unpleasant at low water.


Downstream are some fun rapids to enjoy. The next big rapid is split at the beginning. Left channel has more trees, but fun. At flood the middle forms a gigantic hole which must be avoided. After this some more action awaits until the weir. If in doubt, scout – it is retentive. The far right is higher than the middle, best run at the interface between the high and lower middle part which is far right. Some people run it far left. 1.1km after the weir is a good rapid. If it’s very high there’ll be some holes to slalom/survive your way through. The next rapid has a ledge hole on the left if high, so run right. This leads into a long rapid, the longest. Stay sharp as it’s a minefield at flood level, otherwise very fun. More rapids follow until the final rapid which has a big rock on the left at the bottom and it is quite narrow. Follow someone else’s line unless you know the river. It has caused swims and lost boats. The take out (OUT 1) is 200m down from here, just above the next decent looking rapid. Take the right split and climb out on the small patch of sand which is usually there and fight your way through the trees and up to the N1.


Hotel Rapid.


Myself on Hotel Rapid.


Hotel Rapid at high level. It was either Scott Reinders or Johnny Heatlie who took this photo. But thanks Smile


Peter Ridgway on the final rapid. This is a beast at high water, and the hole bottom and RIVER RIGHT can beat people! Enjoy it..

Otherwise continue downstream to where the N1 crosses. The rapids are still fun, and although easier than the middle section, there are several trees to avoid, so be careful. Overall an awesome river. Hard to scout, because of the overgrown banks and swift flowing water which runs quickly through the trees on the side. A must run if you’re in the Western Cape. Cold and fast, that’s the Moolies!

All words, photos (U.O.N.) and the map courtesy Adrian Tregoning.