Sadly our 2017 race has been cancelled due to water shortage, the projected rainfall for the Bivane catchment area has fallen very short and it is impossible to secure a release for the race.

As of Monday 23 October 2017, water restrictions have been implemented at Bivane Dam. This decision was taken due to the rapid decline in dam levels over the past few months reaching a drop of up to 1% a day and the lack of meaningful rainfall in the catchment areas of the Bivane and Pongola rivers.

The release of water from Bivane Dam for the race is dependent on a "trigger" being a substantial inflow to the dam when the dam is not at an optimum level. After two years of drought conditions, the management of water resources from the dam is focused on its mandate of supplying water to the irrigation system in the Pongola area.

As a result of the dam levels and the prediction of no substantial rain over the next two weeks, the Ithala Challenge has been cancelled. At this stage rainfall is at only 40% of normal for this time of year in the catchment area of Bivane Dam.


Umfolosi Canoe Club

For those who have already paid your entry fees please mail your bank details and csa number to to allow us to refund your entry fee. Please note this may take a few weeks to complete.

Bivane Dam and Ithala Game Reserve

Please contact Bivane Dam or Ithala Game Reserve (Central Reservations) for refunds directly. They are aware of the situation.

I wish to thank all that have supported the effort in getting the race going this year, especially the various clubs and their members who have contacted us and the motivation you guys gave.

Please feel free to contact me on 0827358461 after 16h00 for any queries in this regard...

Nils Manson-Kullin

Race Information

After listening to your input over the years and sponsors tightening their belts starting in 2010 we restructured the race format and this worked extremely well so we will be sticking with it. In return for a slimmed down race fee we now provide less of the frills and this allows us to focus on the race itself.

Be part of an experience of a life time!!

The Ithala Challenge is now a decade old and is becoming one of the "must-do" races in KZN. Every year we aim to improve on the facilities and organisation but luckily the main part of the experience is always perfect and that is the river and gorge itself. Water levels were a problem in some of the previous years, but since moving the race slightly later in the year we have been lucky to be able to supply decent water releases making the river a pleasure to paddle. For 2010 with the help of numerous sponsors and dedicated comittee members we have built you a decent ablution block at Ithala for the camping, I think the hot shower at the end of the gruelling day is something all will look forward to!

For those new to the race - the Ithala challenge was voted by the KNCU as the best one day event race in KwaZulu - Natal 4 times including 2009. It was also adjudged the runner-up in the Tourism KZN Emerging Tourism Event of the Year Competition. They were impressed - we will do the same for you.

Please note you must be an AR rated paddler to enter this race and the race is restricted to 250 paddlers due to environmental impact, so don't delay.

When :

Saturday 18th November 2017

Where :

The start at Bivane dam and finish at Ithala

Entry fee :

Is R680.00 per paddlers (Juniors R340.00) which includes Race entry, gate entry and Camping Fees at Bivane Dam or Ntshondwe camp site on Friday, gate entry and camping fee at Ithala Reserve on Saturday. No meals have been included this year, these can either be brought along or booked directly with Ithala.


Registration will take place on Friday 17th November at Bivane Dam and Ntshondwe Camp (Ithala Game Reserve), from 5pm till 9:30pm.
PLEASE NOTE : The Ithala Game Reserve main gate will be open till 09:00pm only !!


The whole Ithala reserve and hotel has been booked out for the paddlers and there is more camping at Bivane Dam, which will be used on friday 17th November. On Saturday 18th November camping will be at the Ntshondwe camp in Ithala reserve. Prize giving will be held at Ntshondwe Camp, Ithala on Saturday Evening. There are a number of other accomodation options, please visit the about the race page for more information.

We need sponsors!

Due to the few years dry spell we have had to start with a clean slate, please get in touch if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities

Nils : or 0827358461