The annual paddle event from the Indian to the Atlantic Oceans along Cape Town’s waterways takes place on Sunday 9th June. This paddling adventure passes through many neighbourhoods of the city through its canals, lakes and rivers. This year Riaan Manser joins the paddle.
Riaan has ridden around Africa on his bike, paddled right around Madagascar and Iceland. Now he is going to take on the canals of Retreat, Steenberg and Rondebosch, and the Black River in his next adventure.
One of the highlights along the journey is an exciting awareness-raising programme for around 60-80 youngsters at Princess Vlei called ‘Paddle for Peace.’ The activity at the vlei is being organised by the Western Cape Network for Community Peace & Development. Youngsters will enjoy paddling on the Vlei and doing various activities around the importance of protecting the waterways, the history of the Vlei and learning about peaceful advocacy.
Dealing with our dirty waters
Overall the aim of the paddle is to highlight the urgent need to deal with the social and environmental conditions in and around Cape Town’s inland waterways. Everyone is connected to these waterways. For instance, from gardens, backwash water from swimming pools, and water used to clean garage service areas flows down the streets and most often is discharged directly into rivers, lakes and wetlands, and into the sea without any treatment. The contamination of this runoff is a genuine concern.
The paddle event highlights these challenges affecting the city and seeks to raise a fresh awareness about the risk of pollution. It also shows what can be done. Over many years organisations like the Zandvlei Trust and the Friends of Liesbeek, in partnership with City, took the opportunity to rehabilitate the areas surrounding these waterways. The strategy is relatively simple: make space for people to enjoy and value these waterways and improve the conditions to encourage the return of aquatic species and bird life.
The Peninsula Paddle is getting the message across. This year the organisers want even more paddlers to join in the paddle. For further information about the Peninsula Paddle and to register for the event, visit the website.
The first paddle was pioneered by Thomas Cousins, Kevin Winter, Alistair Lee and Trevor Johnston who paddled through the intricate network of waterways stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in 2010. The idea was to raise awareness about the waterways while collecting water samples at various points along the way. The above photo features Trevor Johnston and Alistair Lee.