Fast Facts - Side Chute
River: Umgeni
Access: Walk/swim
Races on this section:
     50 Miler
     Inanda to Durban
     Dusi Canoe Marathon
     Non-Stop Dusi

Side Chute

The first large, flat pool that you get to after Tops is a clear indication that you are approaching Side Chute. Here the river splits around an island and the recommended option is left of the island.

Side Chute Rapid

Left of the island starts off narrow with slow moving water and overhanging trees that should be easy to avoid. The channel widens towards the end and the main channel drops off to the left. The sneak is harder to spot off to the right.

The sneak channel is not as steep, more forgiving and slightly faster at full levels. In low water the left main channel is quicker, assuming of course you manage to make it down this technically tight line.

side chute_quad02

The next image shows your two options as the channel opens out.


The main channel (left line) is short and the gradient steep with fast flowing water around some big exposed and partially exposed rocks. In low water approach from the centre of the channel heading to the extreme left bank, close to the reeds. Getting it wrong in low water will more than likely result in getting stuck rather than major damage to your boat.

In high water the line gets easier, however the consequences of a swim or bad line will be more severe on your boat.

The images below show the line down the main channel at a medium level:

Side mainM01

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Sneak Option

The sneak is a good option as the gradient not as severe as the left. The entrance to this line is not obvious, but if you keep extreme right as the approach channel opens up you will find it. The "Tree Landmark" has been cut down as all invasive aliens should be, so if you pass a tree stump you know you are in the correct channel!

In low water the right line is very tight and you will get stuck if you do not know the line. Damage to your boat is very unlikely however and it is shallow enough to get out easily. The rule to remember is keep as far left as possible until you are past the row of boulders that block this channel and then head river right past the large white boulder. Have a look at the photo sequence images link and study the critical land marks in order to memorise the low water line.

In medium and high water this option line opens up and becomes easier, but good boat speed is required to steer effectively. There is a very large (white) boulder at the very end of this channel that you want to avoid being washed into or over, so aim well right of it. A swim midway down could result in a wrap.

The Images below show the line down the sneak at a medium level.

Side sneakM01

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Video: Sneak at Medium/Full Water Level