Olifants – how low is too low?


Well, we were desperate for a paddle and decided to try out the Olifants to see exactly how low, was too low. Karl and I were soon to find out.


Leaving early on Saturday morning, Cheri and I took a speedy drive down to Witbank to meet up with Karl and Pam. I can’t remember the exact time but we arrived pretty early and made our way to the Kingdom Farm. A truly beautiful place and a few thousand hectares large, this conservation area is aimed mainly for hikers. There is ample game and the setting is unbelievable. Who would believe you could be in such beauty so close to Witbank?!

You really should make a plan to get there and check it out for yourself. Give Karl a shout on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . He is the man to know and you’ll always be greeted with a friendly hello on the other side as long as he’s not in Europe somewhere. Being a professional golf caddy, he’s away for long periods of time.


Local wildlife on the farm...


The incredible Rock Camp.


Once we reached water level we were amazed as to how low it was and I must admit I was pretty bummed. I think I had raised my expectations too much but I guess the drought we were having at the time was showing its teeth right then and there, a very disturbing site indeed. After settling in to the amazing ‘Klip Kamp’ which means Rock Camp, in English, we set off down to the put-in. We had serious doubts about how far we would go and paddled down the pools, walking the rapids as there just wasn’t enough water. After about a kilometer we found the drop Karl was talking about and ran it a couple of times. This was the ONLY rapid and after this hiked back up to the car and back to camp, meeting up with the girls who had hiked along the ridge following our miserable progress.


Karl on the only rapid we did.


Adrian having some fun in Karl's boat...


Just after midday we decided to go on a huge mission and after driving for more than an hour on the farm, cutting down branches blocking the road and a 3 hour plus hike we gave up on finding the waterfall that is upstream of Loskop Dam. Another day I guess.


The Rock Camp is awesome and entirely surrounded by rocks. It is hard to describe, you really have to see it to believe it. We had a decent fire, as it customary with my pyromaniac desires, and relaxed in the darkness that one can only find in the pure bushveld of Africa. Another @#!&^ day in Africa. J


The following day we returned with a fishing rod and tried our luck. Below the rapid that we the day before ran I hooked into something, only to loose it seconds later. Karl managed to find a HUGE python but it gave us the slip and I only got a glimpse of its tail as it disappeared between some rocks. This bugger has hassled a couple of hikers already and is well known to the farmer.


A friend visiting my deck.


Karl seal launching in an effort for more fun.


Further down river on our hike.



A good weekend with excellent company, we didn’t mind too much about the lack of paddling. I’ll return when the water arrives without a doubt. The Olifants can get massive and in big water can exceed 900 m^3/s!!!! I’ve seen the DVD that Andrew Kellet and his mates made and it really looks like good fun at that level. The DVD is called Chasing Water. Have fun and be safe. Cheers.

There are some awesome pictures on the Blyde Boys’ site. Also check out these photos from Karl. Taken near to the wall…


Last 5 photos by Karl. Shot!

By: Adrian T.

Photos by: Adrian T and Karl Martin. Thanks J