Paddle with Us - River Rafting

Paddle With Us’ Lisa de Speville and Celliers Kruger live in the weekend-away town of Parys. As a result, when friends and family visit, they take them paddling on the Vaal River to enjoy the scenery, bird life and just being on the water. Their visitors so enjoy the opportunity to be out on kayaks that after dozens of suggestions to share their love of the river and paddling with others, Paddle With Us was born.

Lisa de Speville has a varied sporting background in adventure racing, ultra trail running and event organising. She has been paddling for 20 years on various types of water. Guiding and organising river trips for Paddle With Us combines Lisa’s experience of leading teams, coaching athletes, meticulous event planning and sharing her love of the outdoors with others.

Celliers has vast experience as a river guide and safety kayaker on many rivers in South Africa as well as in Europe. An accomplished expedition kayaker, he has a number of first descents under his belt. He is also the author of books and articles on rivers and paddling. Paddle With Us is an evolution of his background in manufacturing kayaks, guiding and coaching, and his passion for multi-day trips.

The town of Parys is a popular weekend getaway for visitors from Gauteng. Less than a 90-minute drive from Jo’burg, the town with its quaint stores, second-hand shops, cafes and restaurants is easily accessible. Named after the city of Paris and its Siene river, this Free State town sits on the bank of the Vaal River. Paddling, fishing and birdwatching are popular activities.

Where being on the Vaal River for one day is wonderful, paddling on the Vaal River for TWO DAYS is bliss. This two-day overnight kayak tour will leave you refreshed, as if you have been away for a week.

We cover 15km on Day 1 and 11km on Day 2 as we enjoy the lovely scenery and nature of this beautiful section of the Vaal River. The water is mostly flat and flowing, with a few ripples and class 1 rapids along the way. Our Vagabond Mazowe kayaks are perfectly suited to this environment. This distance is split over two days of paddling to make for an active yet leisurely getaway.

Paddling pace is easy, with regular stops for snacks and lunch. We make camp in the mid-afternoon to enjoy leisure time for chilling, reading, fishing, painting and bird watching. With no electricity, wi-fi or Netflix, this is the perfect opportunity to really unwind. We spend the night at a secluded campsite on the river bank.

This is a peaceful section of river with many islands and an abundance of birdlife. You’re very likely to spot darters, cormorants, ducks, kingfishers, egrets, herons (Goliath, grey) and fish eagles as we make our way down the river. River otters and leguans (large monitor lizards) are around, but elusive. Sightings are a treat.

Throughout the year, paddling on the Vaal River is special.

What: Vaal Overnight Kayak Tour

Where: Likkewaan Canoe Club, Parys

When: Weekends, once a month. Private groups and weekday tours by arrangement.

Duration: Two days, one night.

Difficulty: Easy and enjoyable. Flatwater, few small rapids. No experience is necessary. Family friendly.

To bring: A recommended kit list is provided.

Highlights: Riverine scenery, islands and bird life. An unplugged getaway.

Provided: Kayaks, lifejackets, paddles and all meals from Saturday lunch to Sunday lunch are catered for you. Camping equipment is available for hire.

Children: Children >6yrs are welcome.