Johans Kayak Site


Round trip of 28.5 km. with 7 portages.

This is a rather tough journey. Not only because of the distance, but there are seven portages. There are no kayak-piers at the Offierkanaal, and the one at Frieschepalen is not easy (steep side with electrical fence). In the Ouddiep there are large stretches with water-plants. Especially in the summer they slow you down. Still this is a very nice tour. Except at the Bakkeveenstervaart you will seldom meet any other people on the water.
In wet periods the water runs from the Bakkeveenstervaart (highest point) downstream to Drachten. In the Offierkanaal there are weirs with pumping stations. In dry periods the pump the water in the opposite direction. Although there is little current, in the summertime you best make this tour clockwise.

Kayak rentals:

To the starting point Het Zuid.

Leave the highway A7 at exit 29 Drachten-Zuid. At the roundabout you turn right on the Eikesingel. At the next roundabout you turn right again on Het Zuid. After 1 km. you see high voltage lines. Here you find the the starting point on your right.

Round trip of 28.5 km. (or a little more if you make a round on the lake).

From the starting point you head west on the Verbindingskanaal. When you come at the bridge under highway A7 you turn right. The Offierkanaal runs parallel to the highway. The sides are very beautiful, but you hear the traffic in the background all the time. After 2 km. you come at a weir. There are no facilities, but it is doable to portage here. After 2.2 km. you come at a highway-intersection. You turn left under a bridge and you come at a weir where you can portage. This one is a little easier than the first one. As you are in the middle of an intersection you hear traffic all around you. After 2.5 km. the canal bends to the right and you enter the silence. After a bridge you come at the lake Libbe Gabriëlsplas. It is very silent here. I would have loved to go for a swim as it was a warm day, but there are no facilities. No kayak-piers and no suitable low sides. The only canoe I saw was hidden in the reed at private ground. Straigh across the lake you enter the canal. Just before a bridge you are on the border of the provinces Groningen and Friesland. On the side is border-pole 14 and a monument at the site where once was a small fortress. In 1593 they have tried to stop the Spanish to invade into Friesland, but as there were no soldiers, the fortress was manned by local people. They were no match to the Spanish. This is a nice place for a break, but the lack of a kayak-pier makes it a bit difficult to get on the side.
After a bend to the right you come at the next weir. Getting out is a bit difficult here. The side is steep and on top there is an electric fence. On the other site there is a mooring place. It's not clear if it's private (there is a house at the end of the dead-end road), but as there was no boat moored I could use it. Otherwise you need to walk 150 meters to the bridge where you find a low side. The canal bends to the left, and a little further to the right. You follow the straight canal. After a culvert (road N917) you come at a wooden bridge. A little further is the portage point to the Ouddiep (Alddjip in Frisian). There are kayak-piers. Be careful to cross the road, people tend to drive fast here. The Ouddiep is an old river, but there is hardly any current now. It goes along a forrest It Mandefjild and then you need to portage. All the way back this is a very silent stretch of nature. After the next weir you pass under main road N381. The river bends to the right and when you come at woods, there is a pier on your right. This is Camping Het Koningsdiep. A little further there's another weir. After a bend to the left you see the high voltage lines and at the next weir you're back at the starting point.

Downloadable GPS-track 28.8 km: Drachten.

GPS Starting point Het Zuid: N. 53.0829 E. 6.0999

Starting point is under the high voltage lines.


Turn right at highway A7.

First portage place at the Offierkanaal. There are no kayak piers, but it can be done.

I guess this is the only place in the world where you can kayak through a highway intersection.

In the reed at the lake Libbe Gabriëlsplas.

Libbe Gabriëlsplas.

Paal 14. A monument at the former fortress near Frieschepalen.
It's a bit difficult to get to the side as there is no kayak pier.


Portage point at the Bakkeveenster Vaart to the Ouddiep.


Ouddiep at the woods The Mandefjild.


The Ouddiep near camping Het Koningsdiep.

B & B

At the starting point there is a bed and breakfast: It Súd.

Libbe Gabriëlsplas

The lake is a former sand extraction site. There are no facilities for kayakers or for swimmers. There is a footpath along the south side. There are plans to place panels for solar energy on the lake.


For a trip to the center of Drachten have a look at the page about De Leijen.