Vaal River Vacations - Houseboat and Self Catering units

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Skipper’s License to rent and drive the Houseboat or does it come with a skipper?

You drive the houseboat yourself.

If you do not have a skipper’s License, we send you some training material beforehand. You answer a short monkey puzzle test, and email it back to me.

When you arrive we go through everything again, and if you have no boating experience, I go out with you until you get the hang of it. Once you are comfortable and I am satisfied that you can operate the boat, you drop me off at the point of departure, and from then you are on your own.

What must we bring along on our Houseboat Trip?

We supply bedding and the kitchen is equipped with all the cutlery, crockery and utensils you will need.

Bring your own towels for showering and when swimming in the river or at one of the restaurants.

Food and drinks (Cooler box with ice for the drinks comes in handy, because the fridge is only about 60 litres – small bar fridge size)

Insect repellent (depending on the time of year) and sun screen.

Charcoal Briquettes and Fire Starters (We also sell these items on location) There is a small Weber type Braai on the back of the boat.

Folding chairs to use on the roof of the boat (There are benches under the awning at the back of the boat)

Torch/Flash light – There are 12V lights inside and outside the boat, but comes in handy when using the braai after dark.

We supply an umbrella stand on the roof of the boat, so you can bring your own umbrella. The two benches on the back of the boat are under an awning.

How many people can the boat accommodate and what are the sleeping arrangements?

The houseboat is certified to carry 6 people, but can only sleep 4 people comfortably.

There is a double bed in the fore cabin with a sliding door that leads to the kitchen area.

The benches and table in the kitchen area fold down to make another double bed.

There is also a short bench in the fore cabin where a child might be able to sleep bringing the total to 5 people.

Is there a TV or radio on the boat?

No TV. There is a car type radio with CD player, but does not play MP3 files.

All restaurants along the river have TV’s to watch major sporting events etc.

Is there Electrical power on the boat?

The 220V plugs below the Distribution Board (Black faceplate with switches) are only live when the houseboat is moored at our jetty, and the land line is plugged into socket on the back left of the houseboat. There is no inverter on the boat that supplies 220V.

Two 12V outlets are available inside the boat for cell phone car chargers, GPS etc.

The engine has a separate starter battery that is isolated from the main 12V power on the houseboat. The engine’s alternator does not charge the batteries associated with the main 12V power.

Two solar panels on the targa wing on the back of the boat charge the two batteries for the main 12V power. Cloudy weather and being moored under a tree or bridge therefore prevent these batteries to charge via solar power.

How do the various Gas appliances work?


All the gas appliances on the houseboat have a safety mechanism in that they need to detect heat to keep the gas supply on. If the flame goes out the gas supply gets shut off.

All this means is that when igniting any gas appliance, the knob must be kept depressed for a few seconds after ignition. If the flame goes out after the knob is released, it was most likely not held down long enough.


Geyser pilot flame lighting instructions

Move slider to the position where the two notches are. (This is the only position where you can depress the knob.)

While depressing the slider knob, repeatedly push the igniter knob on the right until the pilot flame comes on.

Keep the slider knob depressed for about 30 seconds for the thermocouple to heat up.

Release the slider knob and if the pilot flame stays on, move the slider to the right.

If the pilot flame goes out, repeat the steps and keep knob depressed for longer to heat the thermo couple.

Oven and grill:

There are two burners inside the oven. The one at the top is for grilling and the one in the bottom and towards the back of the oven is for normal oven operation.

Depress the oven knob and turn it clockwise (grill burner) or anticlockwise (oven burner) while holding a match to the relevant burner. Once it ignites, keep the knob depressed for about 20 seconds. Release the knob. If the burner goes out, repeat the previous steps.

For Grill operation the oven door needs to be open. If you close the door while the grill burner is on, it will automatically go out.

For oven operation the door must be closed.

Is the Fuel included in the rental fee?

No. You pay a Fuel deposit for 50 liters of fuel when making the booking. This amount varies depending on the price of 93 octane unleaded fuel at the time of your cruise, as well as the price of 2-stroke outboard oil.

 The houseboat is equipped with a pre-mix 40Hp 2-stroke engine.

The fuel that is used must be pre-mixed (93 unleaded petrol with 2-stroke oil) with a ratio of 50:1 (petrol:oil). This means 500ml of 2-stroke oil with 25 litres of petrol. The fuel in both tanks at the time when you take possession of the houseboat is already mixed in the correct ratio, so it is used as is (Do not add extra 2-stroke oil).

If you need to refuel, empty one of the fuel containers into the other (using the funnel), so you can use the extra 500ml of 2-stroke oil supplied with 25 litres of petrol. Make sure the 2-stroke oil is mixed well with the petrol by shaking the container before using it.

You get refunded for the petrol left in the tanks when you return, so even if you do not use the extra petrol that you have bought, you will be refunded for your expenses.

To contact us:

Phone: 084 606-3339 or 084 550-8798

Fax: 086 523-5569