Have Fun and Do Something Good

Kayaking and Litter Picking on the Enz River

Mit den "ÖkoKajaks" des Verleihs "Die Zugvögel" kann man rund um Stuttgart durchs Grüne paddeln und Müll sammeln.
Eco-Kayaking - an Outdoor Experience for the Whole Family  

BW Story - CMR

Eco-Kayaking - an Outdoor Experience for the Whole Family  

Paddle around the countryside around Stuttgart picking up litter on the rivers in one of the free ‘ÖkoKajaks’ (eco-kayaks) you can hire from ‘Die Zugvögel’, a water sports equipment rental run by Anna Bröll.

Schwimmwesten sind für kleine Paddlerinnen und Paddler beim Wasserausflug Pflicht.
Life jackets are compulsory for young paddlers on water excursions. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Der Ausflug aufs Wasser ist für Kinder ein besonderes Erlebnis.
A trip out on the water is a special experience for children. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Die "ÖkoKajaks" bieten neben den organisierten Clean-Ups die Möglichkeit, auf eigene Faust loszupaddeln und Müll zu sammeln.
In addition to organised clean-ups, "Die Zugvögel", a water sports equipment rental, offers the opportunity to go out on your own and collect litter. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler

Litter Picking with an Eco-Kayak

It is not easy to catch a ball with a litter picker. It dances stubbornly between the branches hanging over the banks of the Enz River, but little Greta doesn’t give up. It is the beginning of a cheerful chase. The green eco-kayak called Lubi, which looks like a baby crocodile, floats into the bushes with Greta, peals of laughter ringing out as she paddles away. It is the first time the primary school girl has steered one of these boats on her own, and she is clearly proud of how well she is doing. Finally, she manages to get within touching distance of the red ball, grabs it with a smile and hauls it into the boat. There is a round of applause from the rest of the family. Litter picking can be fun after all!

Greta is out and about with her little brother Henri and their parents around the viaduct in Bietigheim-Bissingen. The four of them are exploring the nature and picking up litter from the water. They do not find much - a couple of plastic bottles, a paddling pool, some packaging and the ball – but that is as it should be. The Enz River in Bietigheim-Bissingen is pretty clean, and the water sports equipment rental company ‘Die Zugvögel’ makes even cleaner. At three of the seven rental stations along the Enz, Neckar and Rems Rivers, you can hire an eco-kayak free of charge and set off with a long litter picker and a collecting bucket. They do not take reservations, so it is best to call up and ask whether the eco-kayak happens to be available in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Weinstadt-Endersbach or Ludwigsburg. If it is a family trip, you simply hire some normal canoes at the same time. It was just a lucky coincidence that two of the green canoes were in Bietigheim-Bissingen today.

Inclusive SUP Experience

Outdoor Experience for People with and without Disabilities

Inclusive SUP Experience

“It’s an ongoing project. We often organise clean-ups along the Neckar in the spring and they are always well received,” explains Anna Bröll, head of ‘Die Zugvögel’. “But we also wanted to give families and individual paddlers the chance to go out litter picking on their own.” Bröll took over the traditional medium-sized company a few years ago after working there as a canoe guide for many years, earning part of her living while studying for her master’s degree in Tourism Management. Later, Anna Bröll worked for the State Tourist Board of Southwest Germany, where she gained further thus practical experience. Within her own company, Bröll likes to experiment with special offers. So don’t be surprised if you see a water bike on one of the region’s rivers, or the giant, accessible SUP under the prominent railway viaduct in Bietigheim. It carries up to four wheelchairs and still leaving enough space for ‘standing passengers’, so there really are no limits to enjoying sports on the water together. The tourism expert explains: “We are delighted to be the first water sports equipment rental company in Baden-Württemberg to use this SUP developed by the German Wheelchair Association. The great thing about the giant SUP is that people with and without disabilities can do sports together”. 

Experiencing things together is also to the motto of ‘Die Zugvögel’, which offers both courses and guided tours. And even though ‘Die Zugvögel’ has been around for 40 years, thanks to Anna Bröll’s innovative ideas, it still feels like a start-up. For example, they recently opened a shop for new and used SUPs and accessories in Bietigheim-Bissingen. You can then head straight to the water to test the new equipment.

Mit dem Riesen-SUP können Menschen mit und ohne Einschränkungen gemeinsam Sport machen.
The giant, accessible SUP allows people with and without disabilities to enjoy water sport together. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Auf dem Riesen-SUP können Rollstühle angeschnallt werden, bevor es gemeinsam aufs Wasser geht.
Wheelchairs can be strapped onto the giant SUP before heading out on the water together. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Gemeinsame Erlebnisse: Mit dem Riesen-SUP geht es zusammen aufs Wasser.
Shared experiences: Getting out on the water together with the giant SUP. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Excursion with a Learning Effect

Keep Our Rivers Clean

Excursion with a Learning Effect

The Green Jungle of the Enz River

Meanwhile, Greta and her family is meandering its way through the green jungle of the Enz River, which starts just south of the viaduct. It is great fun, as apart from a few other canoes and a couple of duck families, there is nobody else on the water. At first, they are paddling against the gentle current and it is getting quieter by the minute. A freight train had just thundered over the viaduct, but now, all you can hear is the chirping of birds and the sound of paddles cutting through the water. Henri successfully fishes for a bottle, with dad Marco skilfully manoeuvring the boy towards his treasure. Greta and her mum are taking a little girl’s break, paddling side to side and chatting.

“Even when I was a student, I was almost always on the water in my canoe – if I wasn’t in the library studying.” 
 – Anna Bröll, 'Die Zugvögel'
Das Enzufer gleicht stellenweise einem grünen Dschungel.
In some places, the banks of the Enz River resemble a green jungle. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Die wildromantische Enz kommt aus dem Nordschwarzwald und ist ein linker Nebenfluss des Neckars.
The wild and romantic Enz River flows from the Northern Black Forest and is a left-hand tributary of the Neckar River. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler

Crazy Finds

“It is always surprising what you can find on and along the Enz River – especially in spring, after the high water levels during winter,” says Anna Bröll. She counts on her fingers: bicycles, car tyres, a car battery. Not everything is deliberately thrown into the Enz River, some things are simply picked up from the banks or the wind blows plastic packaging and bottles into the water. Fortunately, Greta’s family finds so little that it becomes a real competition! Henri and his father pull a dilapidated children’s paddling pool out of the bushes and into the eco-kayak. And Henri, of course, is wondering how the paddling pool ended up there….

Mit den ÖkoKajaks und den Sammeleimern im Schlepptau geht es auf der Enz zum Müllsammeln.
On the eco-kayaks and with buckets in tow, we set off to collect litter on the Enz River. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler
Beim Familienausflug mit dem ÖkoKajak sind die Kinder mit Begeisterung bei der Sache.
The children love the family trip in the eco-kayak. | © TMBW, Foto: Gregor Lengler

A Great Family Day

After about two hours, the children’s arms are starting to get tired. So, it is time to head back with the current to the viaduct. Crocodile Lubi has the red ball in the litter trailer. Coxswain Greta moors at the little stone steps, as if she had never done anything else on her afternoons off. Henri counts the plastic bottles in the bin. And the parents have had a good day out with their kids.

On the shore, the family hands over the litter they have collected. Except for the ball. It is a little deflated, but when they get home, Greta is going to see if it is suitable for playing with when it is properly inflated. It would be a great souvenir of the day - and a nice second life for the red ball.

More on Kayaking in the Stuttgart Region


More on Kayaking in the Stuttgart Region


Bietigheim-Bissingen (Ludwigsburg district, Stuttgart region) is located in Baden-Württemberg in the central Neckar valley between the state capital …
  • Weinsüden Ort

Experience provider Bietigheim-Bissingen

Die Zugvögel - Canoe tours & more

Golden stones adorn the river Enz in Pforzheim

River Pforzheim


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