Sunday 1 September
09:00 to 20h30
Lesse River in the Ardennes
By train from Brussels, reserved seats (included)
Kayaking is so much fun. Since 2013 we travel every year a few times to the Lesse River for a nice kayaking trip through the lush Ardennes hills. Paddle between green meadows, along steep cliffs and green forests, below castles and over two exciting “barrages” where the water flows a bit faster. This trip is great for young and old, for experienced or non-experienced kayakers. It’s a safe activity that are both relaxing and a workout at the same time. We travel by train from Brussels Midi (+ several other stops) and have reserved a special section for our group alone in the train. We don’t leave too early and come back at the beginning of the evening. A perfect day out on the water, enjoying the summer while meeting new friends.
What is included?
- Return train ticket in 2nd class from Brussels
- Reserved kayak with guaranteed departure
- Choose between mono or duo kayak
- Great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
Train departure points
You can board our train at six stations. We first meet at the old “Sam’s Café” in the Midi terminal from 8h30 (the name changed recently to Prêt a Manger, but it’s the restaurant with the zebra statue). If you are coming a bit later, from 8h55 we are on the platform and from 9h00 inside the train. We have reserved a special section on board of the train (usually in the front, so we’re easy to find). If you board at other stations, you will receive a text message so you know for sure where we are, but we of course also jump out on the platform to let you know where we are. With almost 750 kayaking guest the past years, we can say this always goes perfectly fine.
- Brussels Midi (9h03)
- Brussels Central (9h07)
- Brussels North (9h14)
- Brussels Schuman (9h22)
- Brussels Luxembourg (9h27)
- Otignies (9h47)
Who can join?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable. You do not even have to be a member, and of course Belgians are more than invited too. We always welcome many solo travellers, couples, retirees, small groups of friends and on this trip certainly also families.
How to add a child ticket?
Expat Club loves welcoming the youngest expats, especially for this lovely kayaking trip! Many children joined us in the past. The minimum age is 5 years old (duo kayak), although we advise a few years older. From 12 years old a child is allowed in a single kayak (free safety vests are available). If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult ticket(s) to the cart and then go to the cart page. On the cart page, there is a child ticket available for just €30. For more child tickets, just change the quantity and update the cart.
What if the weather is bad?
Since 2013 we never cancelled a kayaking trip. Even though the forecast may have a rain icon, out of experience we know that the weather is virtually always better than you may think (we wrote a blog item about this). However, if the forecasts are really very bad (storm), we will take a final decision about 5 days before the trip. If Expat Club cancels the trip, you can join us a next time, use the paid fees for a trip to another destination, or get fully refunded.
Kayaking does not require a great physical strength and is not dangerous as you can stand almost everywhere in the river. The water is knee- to maximum waist deep at most places, so you don’t need to be able to swim, but life jackets are available for free. Therefore it is also safe for children from 5-12 years of age if they share a kayak with an adult and wear a life vest.
If you have never done it before, you can indicate that you would like to share a kayak. Expat Club will then team you up with someone else during our trip to the kayaking departure point. We don’t assign you to someone, but introduce you to all the other people who also like to share a kayak. No worries if you’re not so strong, if you can’t swim, or if you’re a bit older. We have many people in our group, and we have done this so many times, we will find you another nice person to share the kayak! Note that we are not going down the river as one big group, because some people want to go faster and some slower and it would be impossible to coordinate. However, we always go down the water at the same time, so smaller groups usually form.
The total length from Houyet to Anseremme is 21km, which takes about 4 to 4,5 of easy peddling. Downstream of course. 🙂 That looks very far, but really no rush, you can do it… You can make a stop in the middle for lunch. There are various places where you can eat something (from sandwiches to full dishes). After lunch you begin the second and final stretch towards the end of the Lesse river at Anseremme, where you can enjoy a beer and some good food before we head back to Brussels around 18h25.
Expat Club Brussels has reserved modern “Super Comfort” kayaks for you. These polyethylene kayaks are superlight and have ergonomic seats with backrests. They are especially suitable for those suffering from (lower) back pains. Life jackets and special watertight buckets are free of charge at the beginning of the trip. Therefore you can take a towel with you and some personal items.
Most of us probably want to have a mono-kayak, but several double-kayaks have already been reserved. During the checkout process you can indicate what kayak you would like to have. In case you would like to have a double kayak but you are joining alone, no worries! We’ll hook you up with someone. And since we often stay in smaller groups, it is always fun no matter who you are on board with.
We will leave from Brussels Midi station at about 9h03. Expat Club has reserved seats for our group so we can all sit together on our “Kayak Express”. If you would like to enter at Central, Nord, Schuman, Luxembourg, or Ottignies, we will hold your seat. Don’t worry about finding us on the train. If you don’t board at Midi, you receive a text message to let you know whether we are in the front, middle or back of the train. Also there should be special “reservé” signs on the windows and your host will jump out on the platform with a sign at each station. After a dozen of such trips there has never been any problem finding the group!
It is about 6-7 minutes walking to the station of Anseremme because we need to go to the opposite track (mountain side, not river side). Therefore we will leave at 18h10 from the restaurant and depart at 18h27 by train to Dinant (with a 45 minute stop) and then onward to Brussels. We stop at each of the aforementioned stations. Arrival time at Midi station is about 20h50, but much earlier at for instance Luxembourg and Schuman.
- Children tickets are available on the cart page. Minimum age is 5 years (obligatory shared with adult until 12 years). Life jackets are available for free.
- Your ticket includes the trip by train and a super comfort single- or double kayak. Do NOT buy your own train ticket, it’s included.
- This trip will take place irrespective of the weather. However, if on Monday 24 June it shows that the Saturday forecasts are unanimously very bad (storm, thunder, etc, we check several sites), we may decide to cancel the trip. If we don’t cancel the trip and the weather still changes after that, the trip cannot be cancelled by you any more. Our experience is that the weather is really not that bad in Belgium and all trips had very good weather in the end, including the kayaking trips (we organised over 15 such trips the past years).
- All practical trip info will be sent to you by email on Thursday afternoon at the latest.
- We must travel as a group. If you want to leave earlier or if you arrive too late at the kayaking destination, you will have to arrange your own transportation back to Brussels.
- It is not possible to go to Houyet/Anseremme on your own and join the group there.
- It is not possible to take the short kayaking trip from Gendron to Anseremme.
- Kayaking is a safe activity, but you are personally responsible for any damages, losses, injuries, delays etc. Expat Club is not liable for anything that may happen during this trip. You can only stop at 2 points, namely in Gendron after about 12km and at the final point in Anseremme after 21km. There is no other point where you can leave the kayak. You are yourself responsible yourself to leave your kayak at one of these 2 points. Neither Expat Club nor the kayaking company can help you during the trip, so you must do it alone.