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Thread: Paddle Down The Vaal

  1. #1

    Default Paddle Down The Vaal

    Hey guys 'n gals

    Two friends and I are considering a paddle down the Vaal in the Parys area. The idea is to head down Friday afternoon, sleep the night and then early the next day, drive 1 car to the take out point and the other goes to the entry point (or we get someone to drop us off).

    We plan to take a leisurely paddle down the river, stopping to fish every run that looks good. We will sleep over on an island somewhere and continue the next day to the take out point.

    A few questions that someone might be able to help me with:
    1. Has anyone got any good suggestions as to where a good put in and take out point might be?
    2. Anyone know of a company who might be prepared to drop us off & pick us up so we can leave our car in a safe location?
    3. What are the legalities of fishing anywhere along the river and of camping on an island in the river?

    If you guys know this and any other tips, would be great to know.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    elgro 0182911333. do the drift

  3. #3
    FlyFanatic Banned User


    Hehe good times!

    We also did the Vaal drift when I was a student, great experience!

    First things first:

    Most of the good fishing spots/venues are at well known venues which you could access from the road, so dont have illusions of stumbling upon some utopia riffle, chances are good that any good spot you find will have other fisherman there who drove there with their vehicle.

    Secondly the Vaal is very tricky when it comes to trespassing, I wont go into the spesific details, but the basics are this: The boundries of the properties next to the vaal run in the river, not always in the middle though. So if you drift with a boat to a nice run and climb out in the river, you are still trespassing, to either one or the other side.

    If however you stay in the boat (drifting) you are not trespassing, and can fish wherever you like.

    My advice would be to make sure you have enough water, at least one cellphone in a waterproof bag or case for emergencies, some UV boat sealant (many submerged rocks and branches which could puncture the boat)and a well planned entry and exit strategy.

    Dont try this in high flows, it is dangerous and stupid.

    Have a blast, it is a helluva lot of fun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Sounds like a fun trip.

    Unfortunately the crime stats in SA spoils a lot of our fun Considering that I would have an overnight camping venue planned and booked ahead that you know will be safe. Takes a bit of the pioneering spirit out of it, but you might feel a bit less of a pioneer if you wake up on an island in the middle of the river and your boat is gone.

    Other risk of sleeping on an island is that if they open the gates at the Barrage and the water arrives after dark, you might be in real trouble. The campsites along the Vaal are mostly on higher ground.

    Don't want to be a wet blanket, but I think the above are risks with serious consequences, should they materialise. On the upside the steps to take to manage them should not materially affect the fun-factor of the trip.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    JHB, Gauteng


    Jean does make a good point, I personally wouldn't worry about the crime thing - the islands that I have seen on the Dimalachite to hadeda creek drift you could stop at and be completely out of site from the banks. but thats only my opinion.
    The rising water, however, is not something i'd like to mess with!

    I haven't done the elgro drift, but the drift from dimalachite to hadeda creek takes you past some awesome water, for both SM and LM yellows.

    The guys at dimalachite hire out inflatables and then if you ask they will pick you up at around 6 at hadeda creek, for a few extra bucks.

    So i wouls suggest that you do that drift, and then camp back at dimalachite, and then do the same drift the following day, when you have some favourite spots already.

    Then you can fish till dark at dimalachite anyway.

    They have a nice camping area and facilities. google them they have a website.

    Let us know how it goes, whatever you decide on.

  6. #6


    Hey Jean & Saml

    Hmmm - yes, that rising water issue is an important point. Nothing like waking up on your mattress to find yourself about to tackle a grade 3 rapid that was just a small riffle that morning!

    Thanks for the advice though! We are toying with the idea of heading further downstream, towards Potch. I don't know the river well enough to know if any stretch is likely to offer any advantage.

    Will send a trip report once we have done it!


  7. #7


    Just seen my old post. We did end up doing the good old Elgro drift. I have to say that the first several hours was the best part of the whole trip. Best fishing etc. Later, there was lots of paddling through big pools. Got good again just before getting to Elgro.

    We then stayed the night next to the river (just kinda found a spot) and continued the next day but the 2nd day was even more paddling. There were some good spots but lots of paddling in between and we certainly caught more the first day. The paddling on the 2nd day got us to more remote areas but I wouldn't say the extra effort was worth it.


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