We'll be taking rafts and kayaks down the Vaal river in Parys for a pleasant Sunday trip. It's a great trip for beginners and first time rafters, but more experienced rafters and kayakers are more than welcome. This stretch of river has mainly small rapids and flat sections, although there are one or two larger and more challenging rapids.
Total distance is between 9 and 10 kms. Duration of the trip is largely dependent on the water volume at the time (and how many times you fall in). Start time will be around 9h00, end time should be around 13h00.
Meeting place and time. We'll meet at the storeroom (13 Frere road, Parktown West, S26 10 53.4 E28 01 36.3) at around 7am, so we can pack crocs and gear, and be on the road to Parys by 7h30, to arrive there by around 9am. We'll generally drive in convoy to Parys. The put-in (launch spot) will be under the main bridge in Parys (just off the main road), or a little further downstream at the open park.
We'll unload all the gear, and while most of the people start pumping up the rafts, some of us will take all the cars to the take-out point at Stonehenge (about 12 kms downstream) and park them there. All the drivers will then drive back to the put-in in one car which will be left there while we paddle. After we reach the take-out and pack up, we drive back and pick up the car that was left there.
Directions to the put-in. To get to the put-in, travel approximately 5 kilometers into Parys. Where the main road forks, keep to the right and proceed through the S-bend. At the bottom traffic light (either the first or second robot, I forget which one), turn right onto the Potchefstroom/Fochville road. Turn left into Boom street, turn right at the next road (Noorder street), continue along the road as it curves to the left (now Grewar avenue)and follows the river. After about half a kilometre there will be an open park on the right hand side. (26 54' 15.01"S, 27 26' 20.71"E)
Directions to the take-out. To get to Stonehenge, go back to the Potchefstroom/Fochville road leading to the steel bridge. Turn left and cross over the bridge. Turn left onto the Kopjeskraal Road (500m after the bridge). Stonehenge is about 6 or 7 kilometers down the road on the left hand side (26 54' 6.18"S, 27 23' 26.64"E). You can't miss it, I promise!
Costs. The cost will be R40 per person if you use an ESSA raft or R80 per person if you use an ESSA kayak, plus R15 per person to take out at Stonehenge. You must be a paid-up member of ESSA to use ESSA gear (to find out more about joining ESSA, select the "join" link on the menu on the top of the page). If you bring your own kayak, the cost will just be the R15 takeout fee.
It's VERY important that we pay the R15 fee at Stonehenge, otherwise it creates huge problems for all other kayakers. Even though there are no guards at Stonehenge to take your money, please make sure that you go to the reception desk to pay.
What to wear. Bring clothes you can get wet in: long-sleeved T-shirt (preferably not cotton), shorts, costume, running shoes or sandals (not flip-flops). A towel and dry clothes for afterwards.
What to bring. Suntan lotion! If you're on a raft, your legs will burn without it, guaranteed! Bring water/energy drinks, and some snacks for a lunch break on the river. It's a good idea to leave a flask of coffee/tea (or beers) and snacks in your car at the take-out. You can buy drinks and a meal at Stonehenge as well.
What to expect on the river. See http://witsexplorers.bluwiki.com/go/Below_parys