There’s water in them thar hills…

We are at it again! Thanks to the drought we’ve put off the 2016 walk for 11.5 months and have now decided that we can’t let a whole year go by without a River Walk. So, in a flurry, we took the decision just two weeks ago that we will walk this week.

Today was the recce to find the source of the Rietspruit. There are numerous seeps that arise in the hills that separate the back of Cedara from the area of Hilton known as the Knoll, as well as from the Sweetwaters area, and we had our hands full in making a decision as to where the river actually starts!


We realised that we would need to walk all the tributaries.  Red = day 1 Yellow = day 2 Pale Blue = days 3 and 4


We – being myself (Penny Rees) and Alistair Kent, the farm manager of the Cedara Agricultural Research Station who, although expecting an office meeting with myself and DUCT Manager Doug Burden, happily offered to show me around in order to understand the lay of the land.

We drove to the back of the Cedara farm, inspecting different arms of the Rietspruit and eventually had to turn back after getting stuck in thick gooey mud – cattle had walked up here and churned the road into something impassable for a two wheel drive vehicle.


We made our way up a long gentle slope and as we slowed for a closed gate, as if deciding it had had enough and wanted to turn around the bakkie did a 90 degree slow motion slip – slide turn around.


We got the message and headed back to the office – with stunning views along the way of the Karkloof and de Magtenburg Hills in the distance.


Our thanks to Alistair for taking the trouble to explain the complicated lay of the land – it made our lives so much easier on the walk.

Our team this year comprises three walkers: myself (Penny Rees), Preven Chetty, as always, (Preven has done every single river walk with me) and joining us for the first time since the uMngeni walk in 2012, Penz Malinga is back! Sadly, due to ill health, Pandora Long can only join us down the last section of the Rietspruit. We were delighted to have Preven’s wife, Zim Ndulelisa, join us on this section as well. Finally, we are thrilled to be sharing the journey once again with Sphiwe Mazibuko our “river walking movie making camera man”, and his assistant Nombuso Kheswa.

No walk is compete without support – the driver who gets us to the day’s start and collects us from day’s end, who finds us and brings ice cold drinks on a sweltering hot day, who is always (mostly invisible), in the background, for ‘just in case’.  Doug Burden, was IT on this river walk.



About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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3 Responses to Rietspruit

  1. Pingback: The College, The River, The Fields | River Walks

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