Gamtoos River

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Gamtoos River
Gamtoosrivier
South Africa-Eastern Cape-Gamtoos River01.jpg
Gamtoos River near its mouth into the Indian Ocean between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay, with the R102 bridge in the foreground and the N2 bridge in the background.
South Africa relief location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of the Gamtoos River mouth
EtymologyProbably derived from a Khoikhoi clan whose name was given by early Dutch settlers as "Gamtousch"
Location
CountryFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
Physical characteristics
Source_
Source confluence Kouga River / Groot River
 - coordinates 33°44′45″S24°36′55″E / 33.74583°S 24.61528°E / -33.74583; 24.61528
 - elevation90 m (300 ft)
Mouth Indian Ocean
 - location
St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa
 - coordinates
33°58′8.75″S25°1′58.08″E / 33.9690972°S 25.0328000°E / -33.9690972; 25.0328000 Coordinates: 33°58′8.75″S25°1′58.08″E / 33.9690972°S 25.0328000°E / -33.9690972; 25.0328000
 - elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length645 km (401 mi)
Basin size34,635 km2 (13,373 sq mi)
Outcrop of Enon Conglomerate formed by Alluvial deposits in the Gamtoos Valley, on the R331 between Patensie and the Kouga Dam South Africa-Eastern Cape-Gamtoos Valley-Alluvial Gravel01.jpg
Outcrop of Enon Conglomerate formed by Alluvial deposits in the Gamtoos Valley, on the R331 between Patensie and the Kouga Dam

Gamtoos River or Gamptoos River is a river in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. It is formed by the confluence of the Kouga River and the Groot River and is approximately 645-kilometre (401 mi) long [ citation needed ] with a catchment area of 34,635 square kilometres (13,373 sq mi). [1]

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Kouga River river in South Africa

The Kouga River originates near Uniondale, Eastern Cape, South Africa, and flows eastward, where it joins the Groot River to form the Gamtoos just past the Kouga Dam. Its main tributary is the Baviaanskloof River, which joins its left bank before the dam.

Groot River (Eastern Cape) tributary of the Gamtoos River in Eastern Cape province, South Africa

The Groot River is a river in the southern area of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is a right hand tributary of the Gamtoos River. This river passes through Steytlerville.

Contents

Course

The Gamtoos river system is formed by the Groot, the Kouga and the Baviaanskloof rivers. The latter is a tributary of the Kouga. [2]

Baviaanskloof River river in South Africa

The Baviaanskloof River is a river flowing through the Cape Fold Mountains of the Western Cape and eventually Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. The river's origin is in the eastern extremity of the Little Karoo, and follows a valley between these mountains eastwards. It ends at a confluence with the Kouga River, some 80 km from its source.

Although the rainfall in the catchment area is low, it supports a commercial irrigated agriculture in the lower catchment in which oranges, tobacco, citrus fruit and vegetables are grown. There is an estuary where the Gamtoos river enters the Indian Ocean. It is located between Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth and the Gamtoos River Mouth Nature Reserve is in the area. The towns of Hankey, the oldest town situated in the Gamtoos river valley, and Patensie are situated in the lower catchment. Further inland are the towns of Steytlerville, Joubertina, Uniondale, Willowmore and Murraysburg.

Orange (fruit) citrus fruit

The orange is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus × sinensis in the family Rutaceae. It is also called sweet orange, to distinguish it from the related Citrus × aurantium, referred to as bitter orange. The sweet orange reproduces asexually ; varieties of sweet orange arise through mutations.

Tobacco agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana

Tobacco is a product prepared from the leaves of the tobacco plant by curing them. The plant is part of the genus Nicotiana and of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. While more than 70 species of tobacco are known, the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used around the world.

<i>Citrus</i> genus of fruit-bearing plants (source of fruit such as lemons and oranges)

Citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes.

Tributaries include the Loerie River, Klein River, Hol River, besides the Groot and the Kouga that form the Gamtoos.

History

Saartjie Baartman - the "Hottentot Venus" - was born around 1789 in the vicinity of the Gamtoos river.

In 1877 during a severe drought in the region, the Gamtoos River dried up completely. [3] During the floods of October 1867, according to John Croumbie Brown, the level of water in some parts of the river rose by up to 21 m (70 ft). [4]

Drought extended period when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply

A drought or drouth is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.

John Croumbie Brown

John Croumbie Brown was a prolific author, minister of religion, forestry pioneer in South Africa as well as soil conservationist and hydrologist. He was the grandson of John Brown (1722-1787), the renowned Scottish theologian and author.

Two bridges cross the Gamtoos close to its mouth in the Kouga. The original 180-metre (600 ft) bridge on the R102 was opened in 1895 in order to replace the ferry that had been in use up to that time. [5] A modern concrete bridge was built during the construction of the N2 in the early 1970s.

Dams in the basin

Presently this river is part of the Fish to Tsitsikama Water Management Area.

Ecology

In 1995 specimens of the Cape galaxias (Galaxias zebratus), a South African fish species endemic to the Cape Floristic Region, were found in the Krom River and subsequently they were also found in the Gamtoos River system. Until then it had been thought that its distribution was restricted to the area between the Keurbooms and the Olifants River. [6] Although in South Africa this relatively delicate fish is only classified as near threatened, in Australia species of the same genus were driven to extinction by competing salmonids and other introduced species of fish. [7]

See also

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Kouga Dam

The Kouga Dam is an arch dam on the Kouga River about 21 km (13 mi) west of Patensie in Kouga Local Municipality, South Africa. It supplies irrigation water to the Kouga and Gamtoos valleys as well as drinking water to the Port Elizabeth metropolitan area via the Loerie Balancing Dam. It was constructed between 1957 and 1969.

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Fish to Tsitsikama WMA, or Fish to Tsitsikama Water Management Area , in South Africa Includes the following major rivers: the Fish River, Kowie River, Boesmans River, Sundays River, Gamtoos River, Kromme River, Tsitsikamma River and Groot River, and covers the following Dams:

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References

  1. Fish to Tsitsikamma WMA 15
  2. Catchment L, the Gamtoos River System Archived 2014-12-22 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Sellick, W.S.J. (1904). Uitenhage, past and present : souvenir of the Centenary, 1804-1904. p. 125.
  4. Brown, John Croumbie (1877). "III - Supply of water as affected by rivers". Water supply of South Africa, and facilities for the storage of it. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd. p. 125. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  5. Sellick, W.S.J. (1904). Uitenhage, past and present : souvenir of the Centenary, 1804-1904. pp. 186, 187.
  6. Freshwater Ichthyology - The Cape galaxias Galaxias zebratus [ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Biodiversity, Alien trout, and the So what attitude"

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