The line from the source of the Vaal River to the ocean via the Orange River is the largest continuous water body within the borders of South Africa with a distance of approximately 2,500 kilometers.
January 2015 three adventurers, Troy Glover (Canada), Brett Merchant (Australia) and Franz Fuls (South Africa) will follow this line from the source of the Vaal River close to Breyten to the mouth of the Orange River at Alexander Bay. The team will be engaging with local communities on river conservation, with a focus on education and biodiversity.
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Meet the Paddlers
Brett Merchant . Adventurer
Brett Merchant is a prospector from Adelaide, Australia with adventure in his blood. Brett did a source to sea expedition of the Murray River in Australia in 2013, mostly solo. His experience on this journey of similar length will be very valuable, and Brett will lighten up the trip with his home grown Australian humour and will maintain the balance between conservation and industrial growth needs with his career background.
Franz Fuls . Engineer & Journalist
Franz Fuls is the expedition leader. Based in Ermelo, close to the Source of the Vaal he has witnessed the slow deterioration of the environment along the headwaters of the Vaal River. Franz is an industrial engineer, freelance investigative journalist and adventure sport fanatic (rock climbing and white water kayaking).
Troy Glover . Educator
Troy Glover began kayaking in Wemindji, Canada – Ice Road Truckers country. His Spring hobby is to monitor pack-ice forecasts and when conditions are right he launches his ocean kayak into James Bay, dodging icebergs on multi-day expeditions. Troy is a teacher with a BA in aquatic biology and a BEd. He is passionate about outdoor and experiential education. His unique background in science and education, mixed with his drive towards conservation will be invaluable on this trip.
Behind the Scenes
Bertrand van der Berg . Web Design
Engineer, tech-savvy internet marketer and adventurer. He assists with marketing, social media, technical issues and land-based support of the expedition.
Helen Ueckermann . Media Liaison
Helen is a professional media liaison with various high profile clients. Her extensive media networks and experience in journalism ensures that this project will reach its target audience through conventional media.
The Triwaters Tour partnered with WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) to promote river conservation through miniSASS and the Eco Schools Project. Excess funds generated will go to WESSA to strengthen their conservation efforts.
Rivers all over the world are impacted and affected by the presence of humanity. While we need development, commerce, industry and mining we must make sure that we do not destroy our most valuable resource, water, in the process.
A healthy river system demonstrates high levels of biodiversity. Polluted rivers have less species living in them.
The team will engage with communities (mostly agriculture and schools) on river conservation, and hopes to start mini-SASS projects along the way while visiting already established mini-SASS sites. Learning the few skills required, farmers can start establishing a baseline of river health in their area using this recognised tool, and schools can start with long term education projects around natural science and conservation through a mini-SASS initiative.