Over a 2-year period, from January 2009 to December 2010, water samples were collected from three rivers (Klip, Rietspruit and Suikerbosrand) in the Vaal River System, South Africa. Enteric viruses were recovered by a glass wool adsorption–elution method and concentrated using polyethylene glycol/sodium chloride precipitation. Sapoviruses (SaVs) were detected using published sapovirus (SaV)-specific primers and Taqman probes in a two-step real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay. Based on sequence analysis of the 5′-end of the capsid gene, SaVs were genotyped. In 2009, SaVs were detected in 39% (15/38) of samples from the Klip river, 83% (5/6) from the Rietspruit and 14% (1/7) of samples from the Suikerbosrand river. In 2010, SaVs were detected in 54% (14/26) of Klip river samples, 92% (11/12) from the Rietspruit and 20% (2/10) of samples from the Suikerbosrand river. SaV strains identified in the water samples were characterised into several GI and GII genotypes. The presence of SaVs in these rivers indicates human faecal contamination which may pose a potential health risk to persons exposed to these water sources during domestic or recreational activities.