Olifants River – Valletjies, a Park and Huck

Just below Witbank Dam is a sweet, river wide drop known as Valletjies. Dropping cleanly for about four to five metres on river left and a variety of other lines in between. Centre is very meaty with a bad hole at the bottom and far right there are some class 5 lines. The suck back at the base is well around three to four metres and I’m not even sure it could be run. We decided to huck the clean drop on the left.

I got the sms from Karl around 13:00 and heard that they were opening 4 gates on the dam to 450mm above the dam’s rim. That would give us around 130 m³/s, which would be pretty lekker! Before 15:00 I was there already! Entry is very simple and a small fee is asked. Within sight of the wall is a parking lot and from there one walks down to the water and the drop is a few hundred metres downstream. Easy enough.


The wall at Witbank Dam.


The weir below the wall. Easily runnable, just scout your line first.


Once at the drop I opted to run first. The entry is not ultra basic and requires a little bit of manoeuvring but could be harder. My run was good and I had a decent boof. Karl went next and got washed into the rock on the lip and messed it up a bit, landing totally vertical. Luckily the pool there is deep and even though he went down for a little while he hit nothing. I guess this drop would be quite fun to freewheel. Next time I might try that then.


Adrian running the drop. Photos by Karl Martin.


Karl with a near miss at the top but recovering pretty well.


We both ran it again and this time I had another sweet boof while Karl was struggling again and almost flipped over before the drop. It was a close call. I decided to run it one more time and Karl took some photos from below to get a different angle. I cracked out a really sweet boof and the impact was pretty hard. But I was leaning forward nicely and my back was reasonably well protected. From the previous two runs I had realised that a totally flat landing would be cushioned enough from the aeration that the drop offered. The two runs before that I had held back a little from going totally flat. Remember, people have hurt their backs on far smaller drops and I don’t recommend boofing a drop unless you know what you’re doing and know for sure how aerated the landing is. Be careful!


Adrian boofing it super flat the last time. Photos by Karl Martin.


It is possible to simply walk back to the car but we had one of Karl’s friends with us, Jamie, and he volunteered to pick us up next to the N4 a few hundred metres downstream. The next rapid was pretty big with a large wave/hole on the left that looked like it could either dish out a beating or be an awesome place to play. I didn’t want to find out on that particular occasion without having a better look so I gave it a wide berth.


The last rapid before the highway. The weir is on the right, in the distance.


Karl dealing with the wave train.


Adrian running the end of the same rapid. Photos by Karl Martin.


Adrian surfing the first wave. Photo by Karl Martin.


Adrian surfing the second wave. Who needs to go to the Vaal??? Photo by Karl Martin.


A look at the weir on the right channel.


Me sitting in the back of the bakkie...  :-)


The river turns right and then into another rapid. This rapid is divided by an island and we ran the left channel which is totally natural. The right channel has a weir so be very careful when taking that route. On our route were two waves that were good fun. Karl tells me that they are much better at a slightly lower level. Perhaps this would be the next spot for a rodeo? Who knows... Check it out!



Photography by: Adrian Tregoning, unless otherwise stated. Thanks for taking the photos Karl and for texting me. What an awesome way to spend the afternoon!

Words by: Adrian Tregoning.


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