On one of the trips to paddle the Witte River this year we were faced with solidly high levels and it was still raining. Not feeling particularly brave to tackle it on a high and still rising river, we decided to put in a few rapids after the final slide and run only the bottom section which has a lot of water, but much less gradient. Shortly after the put in, a significant tributary joins in from river right – the Klein Bobbejaansrivier. This is an Afrikaans name and directly translated in means Small Baboon River. It has a good ring to it don’t you think? This river has a fun waterfall just before it joins the Witte, and also a rapid shortly afterwards.

Our small group consisted of Peter Ridgway, Stephan du Toit, Carl Schultz and myself. I really enjoy their company and this outing was no exception. A quick hike down and we were ready to rock, this was following by some bush whacking to get to the waterfall. I had seen photos of it before and the only thing I knew was that the landing was shallow, so something to ideally boof. Luckily we had quite a decent level, so it was probably just over a metre deep judging by Stephans first run... At lower levels it’s shallower, so be careful.

We climbed up on river right and ran the drop. It was excellent fun. We all had a second run too. The rain made photos a little tough and produced some bad light but the results are not too bad, I guess. I always pack an umbrella now. There is a slide upstream as well which can also be run at higher levels. The river definitely gets higher than what we had, probably quite a bit more than twice the flow judging from photos and also personally seeing it through heavy rain from the road.

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Double Drop on the Witte very high – and a nasty hole at the bottom. Witte_13_June_2010_004_E1_CR copy

Two Teacups. Witte_13_June_2010_009_E1 copy

The final bit of the Klein Bobbejaansrivier before it joins the Witte River. Witte_13_June_2010_014_E1 copyThe part of the Witte where we put in.

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Peter Ridgway gets ready to rock. Witte_13_June_2010_020_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_023_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_024_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_025_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_026_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_027_E1 copyPeter Ridgway.

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Witte_13_June_2010_072_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_073_E1 copyCarl Schultz again.

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Adrian Tregoning. Photos by Stefan du Toit. Witte_13_June_2010_087_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_093_E1 copy Witte_13_June_2010_096_E1 copyOn the way home the sky cleared a little, letting some nice light in.

Below the waterfall is a short pool and then the water flows through a lot of vegetation. Peter said he wasn’t sure if it was runnable due to strainers but would probe ahead – I followed. After a bush or two we dropped into a steep rapid and clattered our way down at full tilt, most of us having a touch and go moment, myself included. From there on we paddled straight away into the Witte and had a fun paddle down. The volume is quite substantial and makes for some fun rapids and a few large holes – particularly the rapid immediately after the Klein Bobbejaansrivier which has a bastard hole on river right, be very aware. The remainder of the run we finished up and fun was had by all.

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Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated.
Words by: Adrian Tregoning.