|Distance from start of the stage : 21.6km
Lat -29.661594 Lon 30.721802
Portage option: Left hand/Right hand bank
Also known as: Hippo Rocks
The main flow of water through Hippo is down a rocky channel that starts left of centre and turns right. At most levels this is not an option as it rocky, messy and fraught with danger. Only in a very low river is it an option to try and pick your way very slowly and cautiously down the centre channel.
Instead stay river right, past an island with plenty of elephant ear plants, using a small channel close to the right hand bank. that turns left as you approach the huge granite domes in toe river that give this rapid its name. This will take you into a small tight slot that leads from right to left and back into the main flow of the river. If the river is not that full you will need lots of boatspeed to slide over the rocks into this channel, and may have to resort to using your hands to get into enough water in this sneak channel.
Once in the channel paddle hard because you want to penetrate into the middle of the main flow when you drop back into the rapid proper. Don’t be tempted to sneak the inside (right) hand side as the water is very turbulent and often triggers a swim. Exiting in the middle of the main channel offers a stronger tongue and more chance of success. Either way, it is a quick and easy swim at the bottom of Hippo and everyone can try it!
If the river is full you can approach on the same right hand line, but instead of dropping into the slot, you can go straight over the granite shelf and slide over the “Hippo rocks” pointing 45 degrees left, bracing hard left against the granite shelf as you drop over.
|If it’s very full use the chicken run down the far right hand side – just slide down.
If it’s at normal level stay in the middle channel.
If it’s empty it becomes very tricky to shoot on the left so try portage on the right and its very shallow so rather walk over the rocks in the river.
|Depending on water level, safest is far right, slide over the rock face at 45% otherwise middle line and bang it down the centre.|