The Doring is always one of my favourite trips, so when the opportunity came by to paddle it I jumped at it. Granted it was a little low, and we were only doing the last 25/30km, but a night out under the stars with a kayak is just perfect for me!

Meyer de Waal picked up myself and Tyrone Hadaway at my place and already, Stefano Sessa and Simon Oosthuizen were in the Vito, chomping at the bit to hit the weekend. Well, maybe an overstatement – I was the one chomping on the bit. But with no bits around I clamped my lips onto the next best thing, a bottle of Old Brown Sherry. Tyrone graciously joined me and thus the journey developed as the sherry disappeared at an alarming rate. At a stage we arrived at a farm and made a roaring fire and cooked some meat. More sherry was consumed. We slept outside next to the fire, ah yes….

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Loading up the car at my place.

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Sunset just after Piketberg.

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This section of road is simply stunning.

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The next morning still at the fire. Note the lack of chimney… Smile


The next morning arrived cold and misty. There were hangovers being sported in various states but generally all good. Meyer had organized this great place to stay, as well as shuttle drivers – excellent work Meyer! So we sat back and got driven to the put in, which is a place called Oudrif and you’ll find them on the internet. The level was low, 45 cumecs. By the Sunday it would drop to just above 30. This is low, but could be paddled with less, probably down to around 15 to 20, 15 being almost at the limit. The river does get above 1000. Last year I managed to score 250.

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Put in!

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I think this long one is called Krantz.


The rapids were chilled and the weather cold and overcast. At one long rapid (I think it’s called Krantz) we stopped for photos. Then carried on until Island Rapid where I took a few more but clicked over the camera to manual mode from the aperture priority I often shoot in and I blew the photos badly. Oops!

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Stefano deep space 6.

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Simon cruising down. The K1 background evident.

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Tyrone. Photos by Stefano Sessa.

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Myself. Photos by Stefano Sessa.

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Meyer. Yep, I blew these badly. Still kind of works if you like the arty stuff. I don’t.

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Soon after this we got to what I call Camp Bali, a lovely sandy beach on river left which has great afternoon sun. The others wanted to camp at a cave downstream which the commercial operators use. I was not keen on that. In the end, majority ruled, and the cave turned out to be very fun! If you’re reading this and hating us (or me), don’t bother sending me a mail telling me not to camp in your cave. I know, I know. I remove all guilt from myself and leave you guessing as to the guilty parties :-) Or build a bridge… That night we took it easy, enjoying a fire (we collected wood lying around) and good company under a myriad of stars. What incredible times!

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Stefano looking quite small on the river. I just love this place!!!

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Afternoon view from the cave.

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Myself cooking dinner. Photo by Tyrone Hadaway.

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Stefano in deep thought.

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Us chilling out.

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The moon had a slight effect as it was still around, but this was a long exposure shot in total darkness. This was @ focal length 10mm, f/5, exposed for 1727.9 seconds (almost 29 minutes), ISO 200, exposure bias -0.3 step.

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Tyrone the next morning.

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These plants amaze me!

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Looking downstream. The rapids from here are very small.

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Packed up and ready to go.

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Stefano ready to head out.

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The Big Bang is a very cool boat for overnight trips. And actually, a very cool boat anyway!

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That Monday I collected the large (top) composite Fluid Element I bought from Dean. Very cool boat! Thanks Dean Smile


The next morning we meandered down the final 10km to the take out in glistening sunshine on a lower, lazy river. The only other excitement of the day was two boats falling off the roof of the car (at low speed luckily) and a final bit of sherry which made an appearance on the way home. I must note that no drinking and driving took place. Not on the way up, or down. We’re responsible people! Awesome weekend, awesome people, awesome place. That basic sentence sums it up.

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Words by: Adrian Tregoning.
Photos by: Adrian Tregoning, unless otherwise stated.