Kayaking for a good cause in Mechelen

For my birthday I wanted to do an active activity. And since I like being on the water, I looked for a water-based activity. And soon, my thoughts went to kayaking. Then the question remained where to do it. So I typed in “kayaking” with the combination of nearby cities. And soon ended up on “Kayaking in Mechelen.

There are few options for kayaking in Mechelen, but one stood out to me immediately. A local hotel chain started a fun concept in the city during the corona-pandemic. They offered kayaks for free. They asked in return to use the garbage bag and pincers that go with the boats.

As, of course, they are reliant on tourism, they want their city to be clean. One of the city’s highlights is the Dijle-pad. A pathway running along a fairly big part of the river Dijle. A dirty river, of course, isn’t so attractive for tourists (and locals) to look at.

So let’s clean it up!

You have to make reservations for the kayaks at the Van der Valk hotel in Mechelen. You can choose from various timeslots. As easy as that.

At the hotel, you can check-in and get the information for the kayaks. They give you a garbage bag per person, the paddles, and a pincher to grab the garbage from the water.

Next, you have about 1 hour and 45 minutes to have fun on the water and collect some garbage as you go. Most garbage is floating bottles and cans. So nothing too dirty either.

Fons and I first rowed all the way from the hotel at the Keerdok to the lock at the Neckerspoel Borcht. Playing around with Google maps a bit tells me that’s about 2 kilometers.

Then, on our way back, we started to collect the garbage. A bottle in the reeds, a can floating somewhere random, another bottle under a bridge, and so on.

We didn’t expect it first, but in the end, we filled our two garbage bags. Meanwhile, we had a good laugh and had a lot of fun.

The feeling of superiority over trashy people obviously is nice too.

If you ever find yourself in Mechelen, wanting to go kayaking or do something for society: Call the Van der Valk hotel, book a kayak, and have some fun!

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