River Canoe Marathon Media Release
: Dave Macleod
Alternative routes being considered for Berg
Paarl – With the 56th running of the iconic Berg River Canoe
Marathon just over two weeks away, the race organisers are
considering major changes to the race route caused by vegetation
and low water problems.
With the region still firmly in the grips of the drought, the
very low level of water in the Berg River system has left much
of the 240km course scarcely paddleable, with the first two
stages of the race from Paarl to Misverstand Dam the worst
To aggravate matters, the section of river from
Grensplaas to Gouda on the first two legs of the race
clogged by the ever-spreading water hyacinth, and is also jammed
by numerous large trees that have fallen into the river, either
due to the dry conditions or landowners felling trees and
neglecting to remove them.
While the Pink Lady Drakenstein race was able to go ahead,
thanks to water levels bumped up by well time rainfall, the Berg
organisers recognise that they cannot gamble on a repeat of that
fortunate weather, and have tabled a number of alternatives for
These include starting the first stage
at the Franschhoek Bridge and ending at Grensplaas, or if the
river is too low, holding the first stage from Gouda to
Bridgetown after a loop on Misverstand Dam.
Options for the second stage include running the same stage from
Gouda to Bridgetown, but with a shorter leg on Misverstand Dam,
in an effort to try and retain the same race distances on each
stage of the race.
Many paddlers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and the
traditional increase in the flow of entries after the Pink Lady race has not
It has fostered a rigorous debate in paddling circles, aimed at
preserving the 55 year old race and it's legacy in the region.
Central to that debate are the effects of the Paarl River Dam
and Misverstand Dam, particularly in dry years when these dams
are not spilling, and the growing evidence that the weather
patterns are changing, with rainfall now more reliable in late
July and August that was the case in the past.
The race organisers will welcome the debate, as it has already
yielded options and new alternatives for them to consider as
they enter the fortnight before the race, anxiously watching the
The Berg River Canoe marathon
starts in Paarl on 12 July and ends at Velddrif on 15 July. More
information can be found at
(click to download
Click HERE to download
Berg River Canoe Marathon
Horizontal on white - JPeg
Organisers of the
Berg River Canoe Marathon from 12-15 July are considering
changes to the first two stages forced on them low water
conditions forced on them by the severe drought, and an increase
in trees blocks and vegetation growth on the upper reaches of
Mouton van Zyl/
Hyacinth growth between Grensplaas and Gouda has forced the
organisers of the
Berg River Canoe Marathon
consider alternative routes for the first two days of the race.
Conditions of usage of photographs:
All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of
charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The
photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be
cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The
photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and
may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on
any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or
promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements,
commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or
any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at
the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering
this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you,
advise us immediately
and we will be glad to remove your name from
this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us
which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you
cannot access the images, please contact:
(031) 764 3017