Tugela River

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Tugela
Thukela
Amphitheatre Drakensberg.jpg
The Tugela River with the Amphitheatre in the background
JCW-Map-Natal-Tugela.png
The course of the Tugela river, from the west to the east border of KwaZulu-Natal.
Location
Country South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
Towns Bergville, Colenso
Physical characteristics
Source 
  location Drakensberg
Mouth Indian Ocean
Length502 km (312 mi)
Basin size29,100 km2 (11,200 sq mi)

The Tugela River (Zulu : Thukela; Afrikaans : Tugelarivier) is the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. It is one of the most important rivers of the country. [1]

Zulu language Language of the Zulu people

Zulu or isiZulu is a Southern Bantu language of the Nguni branch spoken in Southern Africa. It is the language of the Zulu people, with about 10 million native speakers, who primarily inhabit the province of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa, and it is understood by over 50% of its population. It became one of South Africa's 11 official languages in 1994.

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.

Contents

The river originates in Mont-aux-Sources of the Drakensberg Mountains and plunges 947 metres down the Tugela Falls. The Mont-aux-Sources is also the origin of tributaries of two other major South African rivers, the Orange and the Vaal. From the Drakensberg range, the Tugela follows a 502 kilometres (312 mi) route through the KwaZulu-Natal midlands before flowing into the Indian Ocean. [2] The total catchment area is approximately 29,100 square kilometres (11,200 sq mi). [2] Land uses in the catchment are mainly rural subsistence farming and commercial forestry.

Drakensberg Mountain range in South Africa

The Drakensberg is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation in this region – 2,000 to 3,482 metres. It is located in South Africa and Lesotho.

Tugela Falls waterfall

Tugela Falls is a complex of seasonal waterfalls located in the Drakensberg of Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa. It is generally accepted as the world's second-tallest waterfall but there is an argument that it is actually the tallest waterfall in the world, rather than Venezuela's Angel Falls.

Orange River major river of southern Africa

The ǂNūǃarib (Senqu) "Black River", IGqili, or under the colonial name, Orange River, is the longest river in Lesotho and the Orange River Basin extends extensively into South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to the north. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Except for Upington, it does not pass through any major cities. The Orange River plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The river was named the Orange River in honour of the Dutch ruling family, the House of Orange, by the Dutch explorer Robert Jacob Gordon. Other names include simply the word for river, in Khoekhoegowab orthography written as !Garib, which is rendered in Afrikaans as Gariep River with the intrusion of a velar fricative in place of the alveolar click, Groote River or Senqu River, derived from ǂNū "Black".

Tributaries

British troops crossing the river during the Second Boer War Crossing the Tugela River - 1898-9.jpg
British troops crossing the river during the Second Boer War

The Tugela has a number of tributaries coming off the Drakensberg, the largest being the Mzinyathi ("Buffalo") River (rising near Majuba Hill), but also the Little Tugela River, Klip River (rising near Van Reenen Pass), Mooi River, Blood River, Sundays River (rising in the Biggarsberg) Ingagani River and Bushman River. [2] [3] The Buffalo River joins the Tugela some 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of Tugela Ferry at 28°43′04″S30°38′41″E / 28.71778°S 30.64472°E / -28.71778; 30.64472 .

Buffalo River (KwaZulu-Natal) tributary of the Thukela River in South Africa

The Buffalo River is the largest tributary of the Tugela River in South Africa. Its source is in Majuba Hill, "Hill of Doves" in Zulu language, located northeast of Volksrust, close to the Mpumalanga / KwaZulu-Natal border. It follows a southerly route into KwaZulu-Natal past Newcastle then turns southeast past Rorke's Drift, before joining the Tugela River at Ngubevu near Nkandla. During the nineteenth century it formed part of the boundary between the Colony of Natal and Zululand.

The Klip River is a main tributary of the Tugela River in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The river originates on the west side of KwaZulu-Natal, initially flows eastward and then swings southward. It flows into the Windsor Dam, and then into the larger Qedusizi Dam before flowing east again. The river passes through Ladysmith before joining the Tugela River.

Blood River river in South Africa

Blood River is situated in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This river has its sources in the hills south-east of Utrecht; leaving the highlands it is joined by two important tributaries that originate in the Schurveberg, after which it flows meandering through a sandy plain. The Blood River is a tributary of the Buffalo River, which is a tributary of the Tugela River which it joins from the north-east.

The Blood River was named by the Boers, led by Andries Pretorius, after they defeated the Zulu king Dingane on 16 December 1838, when the river is said to have run red with the blood of Zulu warriors. Below the Blood River is Rorke's Drift, a crossing point and a battle site, in the Anglo-Zulu War.

Battle of Blood River part of the Great Trek, fought on the bank of the Ncome river in South Africa in 1838

The Battle of Blood River is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers ("Pioneers"), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated "10,000 to 15,000" Zulu on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to over 3,000 of King Dingane's soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with Prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Pioneer commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius.

The year 1838 was the most difficult period for the Voortrekkers since they left the Cape Colony, till the end of the Great Trek. They were plagued by many disasters and much bloodshed before they found freedom and a safe homeland in their Republic of Natalia. This could only be achieved by crushing the power of the Zulu King, Dingane, at the greatest battle ever fought in South Africa, namely the Battle of Blood River, which took place on Sunday 16 December 1838.

Andries Pretorius South African politician

Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius was a leader of the Boers who was instrumental in the creation of the South African Republic, as well as the earlier but short-lived Natalia Republic, in present-day South Africa. The large city of Pretoria, executive capital of South Africa, is named after him.

Anglo-Zulu War 1879 colonial war

The Anglo-Zulu War was fought in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Following Lord Carnarvon's successful introduction of federation in Canada, it was thought that similar political effort, coupled with military campaigns, might succeed with the African kingdoms, tribal areas and Boer republics in South Africa. In 1874, Sir Henry Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire to bring such plans into being. Among the obstacles were the presence of the independent states of the South African Republic and the Kingdom of Zululand and its army.

Ecology

The Scaly Yellowfish (Labeobarbus natalensis) is found in the Tugela River System. It is a common endemic fish in KwaZulu-Natal Province and it is found in different habitats between the Drakensberg foothills and the coastal lowlands, including rivers such as the Umkomazi. [4]

Endemism Ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location or habitat

Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. The extreme opposite of endemism is cosmopolitan distribution. An alternative term for a species that is endemic is precinctive, which applies to species that are restricted to a defined geographical area.

Umkomazi River river in South Africa

The Umkomazi River is a river in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Spelling

The spelling "Tugela" was used for most of the twentieth century; it is an Anglicised version of the Zulu name Thukela. Nineteenth-century writers adopted a variety of spellings including:

Nathaniel Isaacs (1808–1872) was an English adventurer who played a part in the history of Natal, South Africa. He wrote a book spread over two volumes called Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa. This book subsequently became one of the principal sources quoted by writers of the history of Natal including Morris , Ritter and Bulpin.

Charles Rawden Maclean British sea captain who, as a boy, was stranded in Natal for four years.

Charles Rawden Maclean, also known as "John Ross", was born on 17 August 1815 in Fraserburgh and died 13 August 1880 at sea on the RMS Larne while en route to Southampton. In a tribute to him during the re-dedication of his grave in Southampton in 2009, the Zulu War author and broadcaster Ian Knight said:

Some of the variations can be accounted for by the early European writers being unaware that Zulu grammar uses prefixes, often a "i-" or a "u-", to denote the noun class of a noun.

Tugela river mouth Tugela river mouth.jpg
Tugela river mouth

See also

Dams on the Tugela

Notes

  1. "Key rivers of South Africa". MyFundi. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10.
  2. 1 2 3 "Proposal to establishment a Catchment Management Agency for the Thukela Water Management Area - Appendix A" (PDF). Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. July 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  3. Thukela WMA 7
  4. "Technical Report on the State of Yellowfishes in South Africa 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  5. Nathaniel Isaacs (1836). Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa - Vol I. Edward Churton. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  6. C.R. Maclean (February 1853). "Loss of the Brig Mary at Natal with Early Recollections of that Settlement - Two". The Nautical Magazine . pp. 74–80. Reproduced in Stephen Gray (ed.). The Natal Papers of John Ross. ISBN   978-0-869-80851-1.
  7. "Making outchoualla or native beer, at Gudu's kraal, Tugala River, Zulu country", a sketch by G F Angus; National Library of Australia.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Tugela River at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 28°45′00″S28°53′45″E / 28.75000°S 28.89583°E / -28.75000; 28.89583

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Wilge River River in Free State, South Africa, tributary of Vaal River

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