The Vaal River Canoe Marathon is going on a new route for its 58th Edition.


The race will be running on Saturday 7 November from Barrage to Smilin Thru Resort and on Sunday 8 November from Smilin Thru Resort to Hadeda Creek Adventures.


The entries are still open until Friday 6 November at 12:00, thereafter no entries will be accepted. The late entry fee is R100 per person.

Proof of payment MUST be submitted with the entry fee or to

Those who have not yet paid must please do so before Friday 6 November.


No  payments will be accepted at the Start.


Enter HERE:


Day 1 will start at 09:00 with registration from 07:30, this will be where you can register your teams and collect your goody bags. Those only doing Day two that are receiving goody bags can collect them at registration on Day 2.

Day 2 registration will be at 07:00.


The Vaal has a new overnight stop, Smilin Thru Resort, where live entertainment has been organised  for the afternoon/evening  in the Smilin Thru Hall for all to enjoy.

There is also a great pool with zipline into it, as well as a slide into the river.


The weather forecast for the weekend is looking very warm, so bring your family along and enjoy the day.


Even with the water restrictions we have a guaranteed water release as the Barrage is holding back water for us, that is going to be released from Friday so we can really enjoy the river and all the rapids and channels on the new section.


GPS Coordinates for this year’s VAAL:

Vaal Day 1:


S 26°45’57.12” –  E 27°40’45.66″

Goosebay Canyon:

S 26°44’12.68″ – E 27°35’30.57″

Smilin Thru Resort:

S 26°50’2.53″ – E 27°30’36.35″


Vaal Day 2:

Smilin Thru Resort:

S 26°50’2.53″ – E 27°30’36.35″

Portage 1 Takeout:

S 26°53’19.55″ – E 27°28’38.72″

Portage 2 Takeout and Put-in:

S 26°53’41.98″ – E 27°27’39.00″

Hadeda Creek Adventures:

S 26°53’2.53″ – E 27°21’19.77″



Likkewaan Canoe Club:

S 26°53’14.64″ – E 27°28’49.29″




Directions to the Start of Day 1 from JHB:


From JHB take the N1 South towards Bloemfontein

Once through the Toll Gate, proceed to the Route 9 Exit towards R53/R42 (Potch/Vandebijilpark)
Turn Left onto Pochefstroom Road
2km then turn Right onto Loch Avenue
4.8km Turn Right onto R42
1.6km Turn Left onto Boundary Road
2.7km Turn Left
350m turn right and proceed to Start.




Directions for the River:

Day 1:

  • After the start the first rapid is BenoudeBoude.
  • Thereafter it will be Goosebay Canyon Weir, here you have to go to the right bank and follow the marshals instructions either shoot where they say or portage up the slipway.
  • After that it is smooth sailing all the way to the Finish at Smilin Thru Resort.
  • Finish River Right.





Day 2:

  • After the start at Smilin Thru Resort keep river left to get to the first portage about 7km downstream, just past Likkewaan Canoe Club, take out on the left bank.
  • Follow the marshals instructions on the portage as well as the clear paths and barrier tape on the route. The portage is approximately 500m.
  • Get back into the river and keep River left, it is very important that you do keep as left as possible to be able to get to the second portage.
  • The second portage is also on the left bank, there will be marshals and there is a clear cut path, run on that path, through the bridge and back into the river, once again follow the marshals instructions. The portage is approximately 70m.
  • After that once the river opens up go to river right when you see the main Potchefstroom Bridge to shoot the weir just before the bridge.
  • Once past the bridge make your way down the middle line.
  • After the channels keep river left when in doubt, follow the river flow.
  • After Big Daddy keep an eye out for an arrow on a rock pointing left, make sure you go left there. On the Right bank is a golf course and 3 huge sandbunkers, as well as a thatch shelter.
  • Once through that follow river through Theatre to Gatsien, go down and right at the bottom keep right as there is a freestyle event on the left channel.
  • Head left and pick your way through the boulders towards BIG KNUCKLES
  • Proceed to the Finish line, once again keep River left when in doubt.


On Day 2, when in doubt, keep river left.


Keep an eye on our Facebook Page:


VAAL is a B-grade race this year.

Helmets are optional, not compulsory.

Life jackets and buoyancy are compulsory and will be checked before the start of each day.


Every paddler will receive something to eat at the end of each day.

Food and Drinks will be on sale at the Finish of both days for everyone.