School group from St Benedict's College on an adventure to learn about rivers

School group from St Benedict's College on an adventure to learn about rivers

We have always specialised in teaching young people – from primary school to university level – to look after themselves on rivers, and to look after rivers! Our conservation mission has been very successful in many ways. We have educated, we have campaigned as activists, and we have published widely on South African and global river issues. Follow us @umlambo (The River) on Twitter and the visit the river campaigns website, RiverMatters, to keep up to date!

We welcome learners and educators to our base at Otters’ Haunt on the Vaal. World Heritage Sites form part of the school curriculum. For college and tertiary level students studying geology, earth sciences, or heritage, the Vaal valley is a wonderful educational resource. We are well equipped to give illustrated talks and demonstrations, and to take groups out into the river environment to see things for themselves. We have developed a number of teaching experiments and activities to involve visitors of all ages in the fascinating story of our living waters.

Educationally, we concentrate on:

  • River dangers and river fun – how to stay safe and enjoy the river without undue risk. Training courses in River Proficiency are run at intervals throughout the year on various rivers.
  • The ecology and conservation of the world’s freshwater systems – helping to save the planet through awareness of the scarcity and value of clean water and unrestricted catchments.
  • The evolution and human history of river basins – their central importance in the lives of nations and how they have figured in the evolution of  living species.
  • Planetary science, the solar system and the emergence of life – our situation in the Vredefort Dome makes it ideal to open up the t0pic of astronomy and our universe
The Vredefort Dome by water

At Otters’ Haunt we have developed a number of programmes suited to schools and universities, as well as corporate groups wanting to know more. Visit our companion site dealing with the Vredefort Dome to find out more.

We do the Dome by Water, rafting and canoeing. As the Dome is the world’s oldest and largest visible asteroid impact site, the Vaal River occupies a unique position among the world’s rivers. It is the only major river to cross an asteroid crater, and it is also one of the oldest rivers on earth. Certainly, the Vaal now occupies part of the oldest river catchment on earth, what was the Witwatersrand Basin and later the Karoo inland sea. The Vaal has many hundreds of islands in the Parys area formed on the underlying granite geology of the Dome. This river has exposed the gold reefs of Johannesburg and the “Arc of Gold”, and its story is intimately associated with that of South Africa’s gold wealth, the asteroid impact, and the original Witwatersrand basin. All of this is explained and demonstrated in our walks, paddling excursions, talks and videos.

  • Contact us to discuss your educational interests.



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