The Berg River Canoe Marathon takes place annually in South Africa’s Western Cape Province over a distance of some 240 km from Paarl to the small harbour of Velddrif on the West Coast. The first Berg River marathon took place in 1962. It is usually run over four days, often in pouring rain during the wet winter month of July, when the Berg River level is expected to be at its highest. The water is fast-flowing, often through narrow channels choked with trees, low branches, and submerged obstacles. The course of the river is due north from Paarl to Piketberg and from there it meanders west across the coastal plain to Velddrif.
It is the longest canoe marathon in the country and traverses scenic wineland countryside, with overnight stops at Zonquasdrift, Bridgetown (which lies on the upper reaches of the Misverstand Dam) and Zoutkloof.