The Klip River – an ugly duckling.

Much has been said about this small little river. Mostly negative comments and ‘enthusiastic’ accounts of dead animals stuck in trees and memories of upset stomachs. Why would anyone want to even paddle this cess pool? Certainly after hearing the opening statement I’m not sure anyone would want to. Well, let me attempt to dispel a couple of myths and set the record straight over the friend we have had so much fun on over the past few years.


The Klip is one of only a few rivers that run year round. My understanding of the situation is that water gets pumped up from the Vaal Dam to Johannesburg and here it is used in the grey water process. The cleaned water is fed to the Klip which then makes its way back to the Vaal Dam. Hence the reason it can flow all year long. I am not sure on the actual flow rate, maybe 2 or 3 cumecs,  but it’s enough to provide us with a small little hole that is just so much fun with a couple of mates.


The Klip often involves an early Sunday morning burn. Good old VW Caddy.


The drop at the caravan park.


Usually blocked up bridge.


The put-in for the short, and the best section, is the Meyerton sports grounds, ending at the Rothdene caravan park through a distance of roughly 5km. The rapids are all in the class 1 and 2 region and all of them are very straight forward. About 300 metres after the put-in is the first rapid, a small pool and then another tiny rapid. The river goes around a left bend and then moves rather quickly towards a dodgy bridge (dirt road). If you are a total beginner then you should be careful here. This bridge can become blocked up with trees and the swift moving water into it could spell trouble. The portage is river right and there are some very small eddies where one can climb out. At the moment the bridge is open on the left and fully blocked on the right. Last season the bridge got blocked badly and the force of water during summer has caused some damage to it already. I reckon the bridge will wash away totally if we get some decent rain next summer, let’s see.


After this is some flat water and then under a proper bridge (tar road) where there is a small rapid. Straight down the middle. This is an excellent spot for beginners to practise ferry glides, peeling in and out of an eddy and also rolling in moving water. It is very deep in the main current and good for stern squirts, cartwheels, bow stalls, stern stalls etc.


A long flat pool follows this and then a small rapid on a right hand bend and then Pump House rapid is found. There is a nice sticky hole on river left at the top of the rapid but watch out, it is backed up by a large rock so don’t go over. Near the bottom on river right is a wave that you can catch on the fly but really not worth much. There is another small drop and then the entry to Double Drop. There is a broad wave/hole upstream, which you can also catch on the fly, and then the infamous Double Drop.


This rapid consists of two river wide drops, each of about a foot or so with a pool about 3 or 4 metres between the two. River left is stickier than the right and we usually run it right of centre, mainly because there is more water here. At high levels this rapid becomes pretty sticky and one should be careful. Dave Peake told me about one of his mates throwing many ends in there as a beginner. I have never seen it at very high levels or flood but I believe it forms an awesome green wave. I’ve seen it high enough for the hole about 100 metres downstream to disappear. Depending on levels in is quite fun to surf Double Drop river right of centre, at the bottom.


I think the main reason why I ever bother to come and paddle the Klip is the little hole about 100 metres downstream of Double Drop. About three and a half metres broad with eddy service on either side, this little hole is always running. Throughout winter one can come and play here and only after some good rain will you arrive and the hole will either just be a small wave that you can hardly front surf, or it will not even be there. The hole is by no means anything special. It is too shallow to cartwheel in it, although on can set up further back in the foam pile and manage 3 ends if you’re lucky, before you get pulled down to the crease where the bow or stern of your kayak will meet the river bottom with an ankle battered bang.


So, blasting the hole, spins left and right and trying to surf with two people are pretty much the order of the day. Far better than stagnating at home during the winter months, waiting for rain, or between weekends when the typical boater would be hanging around Natal or Mpumalanga. I have spent hours surfing this hole and even though it is considered as terrible by other people, it has taught me so much and I’ll continue to go there. And for the record, I have never been sick from this river.


Fluid Flirt (medium). See, it is possible to throw 2, sometimes 3 ends in the hole... Nice retentive, low, winter level.


The hole at a slightly higher level. Less retentive.


After the hole, which strangely enough does not have a name, there is a little bit of flat water and then a straight forward rapid with the mighty name of, wait for it, Grave Yard! J Haha, I always give an emphasis on that name when we come up to it. Maybe it is a little tougher for the guys in K1’s and twos because it turns sharp right and if you don’t make it you end up in the trees on river left. Further on are some really small ‘rapids’ and then a longish flat section all the way to the caravan park.


The drop at the caravan park is the highest in the river and a simple chute of about a meter. It is a kind of a weir formed with just a whole lot of boulders dumped into the river with a slot where all the water comes through. It’s possible to surf  this drop at all levels but it is not very easy. One mistake and you’re off. It is possible to flat spin but that depends on skill and also water levels. At high levels it is quite fun to surf. At flood levels the entire mass of rocks is covered in water. I have never seen this but would imagine it probably washes out quite a bit. When surfing, be careful, some upstream flips for a mate of mine resulted in two broken blades in about 15 minutes. It’s fairly shallow on surfers’ right but deeper on surfers left where a smallish kind of hole forms. This is the normal take-out. There are braai facilities and bathrooms here too.

The drop at the caravan park in full blown winter level. (the last 4 pictures)


Further downstream is a railway bridge with a drop underneath it. I have only ever seen it at a low level but believe it is worthwhile at high levels. Getting there is pretty simple. Just cross the river at the tar bridge (about 800 metres from the put-in) and turn right at the first road. Go straight for quite some time. Eventually, you’ll arrive at a rail road crossing, before you cross, turn right and drive parallel to the rail way and down to the river. It seems a little dodgy to be down there but I reckon in a group you’d be ok.



And that’s that. The Klip unveiled. J I can't promise it will ever turn into a swan, perhaps it will always just be the ugly little duckling...

If you’re new to kayaking I highly recommend the Klip, a good river to start on and get the basics wired before you venture onto something else. Or else for anyone else it’s always fun with some friends and not too far from Joburg. Have fun.


Driving back with Joe Carters car...

VIDEO----> "CLICKETY CLICK"   By Luke Longridge.


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It seems very obvious to most people as almost everyone knows how to get there, but for people who don’t know or for those new to the sport, here are the complete directions to get to the Klip.

The usual put-in is the Meyerton sports grounds and finding it is easy and there is no entrance fee. From the R59 one can take the Johan Le Roux off ramp. Turn left and go through a couple of robots/stop streets for about 2 km. When you reach the robot at the t-junction, turn right. The entrance to the sports ground is within 400 meters of that robot and you’ll turn left.

There are two ways to get to the take-out. One way is to go straight instead of turning left into the sports grounds after the t-junction. Keep going for quite some time passing a set of robots, then a stop street opposite a small shopping centre, another stop street and then straight for maybe about 2 kilometres or so. Just after a garage and a Super Save shop is a stop street. Turn left here. If you miss this and go straight you will go down hill and then arrive back at the high way within 200 meters. This is the Verwoed off ramp and then second method to get to the take-out. So after turning left at the stop you go straight, past a stop street in the middle of no where and then left and a t-junction. Go straight and you’re at the Rothdene caravan park. This is the take-out. Here you’ll pay between R20 and R30 per car, depending on how they feel. Tell them how many cars you are leaving there and pay for them. They won’t charge for every car going in just the ones you leave there.



BY: Adrian Tregoning.

Photos by Adrian Tregoning and Cheri Collett. Paddler: Adrian T.