This Umko Website

This website is a ‘parking spot’ for Umko stuff. It consists of most of the stuff that made up the Umko 50yrs book.

Its purpose is:

  1. To store Umko memories;
  2. To give you space to have your own Umko page;
  3. To publish a better book for Umko 60yrs in the year 2026;

Add your bit in here by writing in the comments of any post, including this one; 

or by emailing rob@dcsys.co.za – pictures also welcome;

Already have a page? You can fix what’s wrong; add to it each year; add pictures;

Your story will be saved and the best – or most embarrassing – stories could make the next book.

Just do it.

Umko valley cliff

Umko race meeting on riverbank

2018 STIHL Umkomaas ‘The Radical Test’

Great chirp:

Mar 18

I wish more people could experience what paddlers enjoyed this weekend. The unspoilt beauty of the valley to Riverside in fun + safe water, overnight at Hella Hella while the river rumbles you to sleep, and the skill test + exhilaration of day 2. – Miss it = Miss out –

2018 winners

Umko Wilma Deyzel 2018

Umko 2018_2

pics from STIHL twitter account

Gautengers at the Mighty Umkomaas 17 / 18 March 2018

FEEDBACK – STIHL UMKOMAAS THE MIGHTY ONE…. 17 / 18 MARCH 2018Plenty of photos shared on facebook/Gautengcanoeunion or at the Facebook/Stihl Umkomaas page

Quote :  Legendary for its exhilarating rapids!  the 36km of day 1 first stage is often underestimated by paddlers, as everybody remembers the thrills of Day 2  END

The race is arguably the pinnacle race of the season – frequently in flood levels as we finish off the rainy season the mighty A+ grade Umkomaas is usually a wild white water challenge which can have paddlers quaking as they line up for the start, or trembling with anticipation and excitement depending on the water level and experience!

The scenery and towering cliff faces add to the awesome beauty and excitement of this river race where rafting is popular as well as white water paddling.

Well done to the Gauteng paddlers who completed this year’s Umkomaas and there were a good number where the winner was: The Umkomaas River! as Gautengers conceded defeat and were unable to make it through the treacherous rapids on Day 2 where the river proves who’s boss!

Janet Bartlet represented the lady paddlers of Gauteng,  in a K3 with Bruce Dixon and Peter Geach, finishing 2nd K3, in 5h11, as the 7th Mixed Double.  Sarah Robinson – Gauteng lady participant with Nkosi Mzolo managed to drag their damaged boat from Rapid 4/5 to 8 before accepting defeat!  What an awesome river for a K3!

In the male category the Gautengers ended up being led by Alex Roberts and Michael-John Robb (Dabs) who finished in 4 hours 12 minutes as 8th K2, out of 88 boats that actually finished the challenging exciting river race!

Paul Hatfield (Natal) and Andrew Hall were the next finishers with a Gautenger in the boat (Dabs) in  4 hours 15 as first Sub Masters and 9th K2.

The 3rd Gauteng boat to cross the finish line was Wayne Jacobs with Dave Hamilton-Brown (Dabs) finished as the 12th K2 in 4 hours 20, as 3rd Sub Veterans.

There were more podium age category finishers among the Gautengers including Kevin Middleton and Sean Evans, (Dabs) 2nd Sub Masters, K2 22, in a time of 4 hours 38 minutes, as well as Bryan Slater and Graham Neate, who were the 3rd Masters, K2 53, in 5 hours 11 minutes.

The Top Three K1 Gautengers who also finished the mighty challenge, were Uwe Schmidthaus (VLC) 5th K1 in 5 hours 39, Gavin Coetzer (Dabs) 12th K1, in a time of 7 hours 19 minutes (20th SM), as well as Raoul Goosen (Dabs) who finished as 8th Sub Grand Master, K1 22…..in a time of 9 hours 52 minutes!

Jennie Dallas

Ernie Alder R.I.P

Ernie Alder, Kingfisher Canoe Club and Umko stalwart and longtime all-round dependable, reliable and ever-present backbone of the club and the race, died after a short illness on Sunday this week.

Travis Wilkinson of KCC wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of Ernie Alder!
There are very few truly selfless individuals, those that give of their time beyond what could ever be expected without seeking reward or adulation!
Ernie you will, for me, always be synonymous with KCC and there will never be a time, driving in to the car park, that I do not look for your vehicle, your welcoming smile or your loudhailer!
Rest in peace my friend, you did so much to assist me in my time as chairman and for the numerous chairs before and those that came after.
Your legacy will forever be intertwined with the history of KCC and you will be sorely missed at the club and along the many riverbanks and boat pounds across the country!

A gentleman, a gentle man! We will miss you – ‘Elvis Kingfisher’



Nephew Alistair McWade wrote:

– always kind, funny and compassionate;

– a life well lived;

– completed 17 Comrades marathons!

– numerous Dusi and Umko canoe marathons;

– very active in Kingfisher Canoe Club for decades;


More on Ernie.

You know you’re special when your mates name the pub after you in your time!

Ernie's Pub




You can add your own Umko story to this website and include your favourite pics.

This story is about all the people that made the Umko what it is. Add your bit. We won’t censor you, so you can say you won and all the Hansa girls mobbed you as you roared across the line.

SAMPLE PIC (one big pic or a few smaller ones)


I conquer House Rock hole!


There I was, my heart in my mouth . . but I made it, and the crowd went crazy . . etc.

Write your tale in COMMENTS below, or send it to admin@sheila.co.za. Provide your email address and we’ll contact you for pics and details.