Well Parys is an idyllic somewhat laid back spot. Plenty of Coffee and Antique shops, craft shops and the general stuff that makes a sleepy little Free State town tick over. It does however change on the weekends when the population virtually quadruples with Antique and Adventure Hunters who head south to escape GP and chill or get some adrenalin flowing.
The adrenalin comes courtesy of the numerous quad bike operators,the nearby Berakah 4×4 trail and the river,when it’s flowing its a highly rated stretch,generally its about a grade 2 in rafting and kayaking terms. I have done it in rubber ducks during storms when the sluice gates have been opened and it’s absolutely exhilarating. Then you get the kayaks, nimble plastic boats capable of high speed and mobility-awesome fun.
So rain was forecast for GP and we need a quick break, conditions were ideal for photography, no brainer we headed down across theVaal to Parys to get some pictures for www.allterrain.co.za . Around 08h00 we stopped for coffee and a country breakfast .Replete for the day we carried on taking pictures until we headed off to meet with Celliers Kruger and his team at Fluid Kayaks, yes they are local and made just across the river in Parys. Celliers started work at Yskor as a Mechanical Engineer and after 11 years realised his dream when he started his small company known as Fluid. He supplies locally as well as in the UK and USA where he has production arrangements, New Zealand and Australia are supplied out of the Parys factory.
The production is primarily of roto moulded Kayaks for the sport and recreational market. 2014 will see the production of some 4000 units, impressive for a small local operation. Innovation is key and the guys at fluid are always looking at improvements in the design and manufacture of the kayaks and sit on tops used for recreation by families and fishermen. Fluid currently employs 20 people from the area with the production facility being situated in the industrial area of Parys. They do sponsor key paddlers and are involved in the” source to sea event”, Celliers himself is a keen paddler having also written books on the subject. The staff component is young many of whom are also avid paddlers.
We are blessed with a temperate climate and scenery as well as beautiful rivers, all perfect conditions for the outdoor enthusiast, young or old. Possibly the most popular river for kayaking, rafting and canoeing is the Orange which offers rapids in a few locations, the long section next to the Richtersveld is very scenic with a few rapids. As I said the Vaal is a popular destination for families and even team builds, it has some fun rapids which can be technical when the river is in flood, one also has to watch out for overhead branches on the sides and on islands which can trap you and push you down. In the Western Cape one can do trips along the Breede River and on the garden Route. In KZN one can try the Buffalo River and the areas around Kosi Bay or alternatively head up to Mpumulanga and try either the Blyde River or the Sabie.If you are a novice avoid the area around “thrombosis” on the Umzinkulu river in KZN.But get out there, have fun and get wet ,that’s what www.allterrain.co.za is all about.