Historic Paddle Completed by Expedition Angola
Kiwi Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson and American Aaron Mann have just completed first descents of two rivers in Angola, on Africa’s rugged west coast. The extreme pair successfully ran sections of the Cuanza (Kwanza) River, which included crocodile-infested pools and seething 120-foot waterfalls, for the first time.
Just survived 3 days on the Keve River, Kwanza Sol with Aaron Mann – This is hands down one of the all time great rivers – heaps of gradient, fluffy flows and so many rapids. Here's a video of a section we tried to boat scout on sunset and shit got real, real quick. Ended up making camp right next to this big boy. Angola is a destination that needs to be explored more – hundreds of rivers dropping down from the highlands into the Atlantic Ocean. ORTLIEB Outdoor Equipment Pivotel Satellite sandiline GoPro Lettmann GmbH Kwanza Lodge #kayakangolahttps://share.delorme.com/mikedawson
Posted by Mike Dawson – Kayak on Wednesday, October 14, 2015
After two days of paddling where no kayaker has gone before, however, a third day chasing rapids was disrupted.
« We’d hit one section of some fairly croc-infested water so decided to portage around it but ended up stumbling into an illegal diamond mine on the edge of the river, » Dawson said. « There were police guns being waved around and there were some pretty scary moments for the crew, so we decided that was probably a sign to pack up and head for the Keve River.”
The Keve is the Cuanza’s lessor-known sister river, boasting more gradient and a creeking style of paddling through remote gorges. The pair finished the 56km section of river, with nearly a 400m gradient, over three days.
« The Keve River was super-isolated, with massive portages followed by endless sections of whitewater, » Dawson said.
The pair will now head to Bengo Falls, then explore Kissama National Park and Angola’s shoreline. Political reforms have gradually opened Angola up since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002, although safety is still precarious in the mineral-rich West African country.
Sponsored by Ortlieb, the Expedition Angola trip also involves filming, mapping and documenting the rapids and flow of the rivers in these remote, uncharted gorges.