KZN six to paddle untamed Incomati River

2013-04-27 00:00

NAVIGATING 200 km of uncharted river by canoe in blistering heat while dodging crocodiles and hippos is quite a challenge.

And it’s a challenge six friends from Durban, Howick and Scottburgh have decided to conquer. Starting from the Kruger National Park, they will canoe up the Incomati River, ending in Maputo.

The organiser of the expedition, Geoff Dutton, said he wanted a challenge that would highlight the state of rivers and the importance of conservation.

“Our goal is to pioneer and explore one of the last remaining wild spaces within a day’s journey from Durban and in so doing raise awareness of the importance of good conservation of our river systems.”

Dutton said they had teamed up with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation and the hydrology department of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg).

Their work will include getting water samples and testing the river. The data will be used in projects aimed at managing the river better.

It took a bit of convincing from Dutton to get his friends on board.

“Most of the guys I invited along declined because of the dangers. I ended up with only the chaps who really wanted to achieve this. Some of the group had never paddled before.”

Since the full length of the Incomati River has never been paddled before, the group is not sure how rough the rapids will be or what wildlife they will encounter.

Second-in-command Andrew Kemp said he was feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves.

“It’s really exciting to be the first people to canoe up the Incomati. It’s really just an adventure a bunch of friends are doing together.”

The team has been training hard in preparation for the trip and Dutton said they were ready.

The team consists of six paddlers, two support crew and a photographer and film-maker who will be documenting the whole trip for a movie.

They leave on May 16 and canoe for 10 days.


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