Conquering Demons: Kayak Adventure in South Africa

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Stormsriver is famed for this suspension bridge, which stretches across the Stormsriver mouth. Photo by Emma Strumpman
Stormsriver is famed for this suspension bridge, which stretches across the Stormsriver mouth. Photo by Emma Strumpman

Eventually, thankfully, there was a break in the swell, and we all managed to scramble off the boats and onto the jetty. I had to sit down for a moment, to focus on my feet to stop the tears of relief from welling up.

And then I started laughing – that was the single most ridiculous little adventure I’d ever been on. It was a roller coaster of emotions – overwhelmed by the beauty of the river mouth one moment, racked with fear at its sheer power the next. Like I said, not over-dramatic at all.

Though I’d spent the past three hours tiring myself out with hiking, paddling, cliff jumping and panicking, the hike back to base – meant to be the final, exhausting slog – felt short and effortless in comparison. I didn’t care how many steps I had to climb on the way back, I was just so glad to have said steps planted firmly on solid ground. My hands continued to shake the whole car ride home.

“So, how was it?” We were asked by a neighbor, having returned from Storms River. All he got was a collective grunt in response.

Aboard my shiny red kayak, paddling through still river water, and away from the unpredictable ocean waves. Photo by Emma Strumpman
Aboard my shiny red kayak, paddling through still river water, and away from the unpredictable ocean waves. Photo by Emma Strumpman

“That boring, right?”

Not quite. It had been a morning of such excitement, such adrenaline and terror and joy and wobbly sea-legs, and none of us had the words to describe it.

Not just then.

IF YOU GO

We booked our Storms River kayak and lilo tour with Untouched Adventures. While we might not have had the best conditions, our guides were not only professional and informative, but they also remained at ease to ensure we all made it to safety.

If you’re worried about weather conditions, phone ahead or plan your excursion to coincide with low tide – we went during spring tide, during which the sea was exceptionally high and rough. The best time to visit this area for a summer-time adventure is arguably between January and March, when the weather is still warm, but the area has calmed down after the busy festive season.

Storms River Mouth is also a beautiful spot for snorkeling – on clearer days, I’ve spotted stingrays, starfish the size of my face, sand sharks and fish in vibrant shades – or for simply lazing on the small beach and enjoying the Summer sunshine.

 

Author Bio: Emma Strumpman is a Film & Media graduate student, currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is always up for an adventure, whether it’s discovering a new hiking trail, finding a body of water to dive into or a sandy beach to meander along, meeting new people, trying new foods, hanging out with some wildlife or, of course, travelling. You’ll hardly find her without notebook or camera, as these experiences she loves to record in words and photographs.