Vaal River

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Vaal
River
The Vaal River seen from the N3 national freeway, upstream from the Vaal Dam. Here it forms the border between the Mpumalanga and Free State provinces.
CountrySouth Africa
RegionsFree State, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga
Tributaries
 - leftVet River
LandmarksVredefort crater, Vaal Dam
Source
 - locationBetween Marquard and Clocolan
 - elevation1,269 m (4,163 ft)
MouthOrange River
 - locationNear Douglas
 - elevation1,241 m (4,072 ft)
 - coordinates29°4′15″S 23°38′10″E / 29.07083°S 23.63611°E / -29.07083; 23.63611
Length1,120 km (696 mi)
Basin196,438 km2 (75,845 sq mi)
Dischargefor Orange River
 - average125 m3/s (4,414 cu ft/s)
Location of the Vaal River mouth
 
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Coordinates: 29°4′15″S 23°38′10″E / 29.07083°S 23.63611°E / -29.07083; 23.63611
Vaal
River
The Vaal River seen from the N3 national freeway, upstream from the Vaal Dam. Here it forms the border between the Mpumalanga and Free State provinces.
CountrySouth Africa
RegionsFree State, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga
Tributaries
 - leftVet River
LandmarksVredefort crater, Vaal Dam
Source
 - locationBetween Marquard and Clocolan
 - elevation1,269 m (4,163 ft)
MouthOrange River
 - locationNear Douglas
 - elevation1,241 m (4,072 ft)
 - coordinates29°4′15″S 23°38′10″E / 29.07083°S 23.63611°E / -29.07083; 23.63611
Length1,120 km (696 mi)
Basin196,438 km2 (75,845 sq mi)
Dischargefor Orange River
 - average125 m3/s (4,414 cu ft/s)
Location of the Vaal River mouth

The Vaal River pron.: /ˈfɑːl/ is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source in the Drakensberg mountains in Mpumalanga, east of Johannesburg and about 30 km north of Ermelo and only about 240 km from the Indian Ocean.[1] It then flows westwards to its conjunction with the Orange River southwest of Kimberley in the Northern Cape. It is 1,120 km in length, and forms the border between Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West Province on its north bank, and the Free State on its south.

Contents

Tributaries

Some of its tributaries include the Harts River, Vals River, Waterval River, Bamboes Spruit, Blesbokspruit, Mooi River, Vet River, Renoster River, Riet River and Wilge River.[2][3][4]

Importance to industry and agriculture

The Vaal is one of the most important rivers of South Africa.[5] Water is drawn from the Vaal to meet the industrial needs of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area and a large part of the Free State. As a part of the Vaal-Hartz Scheme it is a major source of water for irrigation. Water drawn from the Vaal supports 12 million consumers in Gauteng and surrounding areas.[6]

History

Historically, the river formed the northern border of Moshoeshoe I's Basotho kingdom at its height[citation needed] in the mid-19th century, then became the boundary between two Boer republics: The South African Republic (later the Transvaal province) and the Orange Free State. The geographic name "Transvaal" comes from the name of this river, meaning "beyond the Vaal river". This was in respect to the Cape Colony and Natal, which were the main areas of European settlement at the time, and which lay south of the Vaal.

Naming

Vaal is a Dutch name (later Afrikaans), translated by the Griquas or Boers[7] from an earlier Kora Khoikhoi name Tky-Gariep (/hei !garib, drab river).[8] Both Vaal and Tky mean "drab" or "dull", which alludes to the colour of the waters, especially noticeable during flood season when the river carries a lot of silt. In the upper reaches the river was named Likwa (Sindebele), Ikwa (isiZulu), ilikwa (siSwati), lekwa (Sesotho), or cuoa by the Khoikhoi, all referring to the plain it traverses.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ Times Comprehensive Atlas, 12th ed. Times Books, London, 2007
  2. ^ Upper Vaal WMA 8
  3. ^ Middle Vaal WMA 9
  4. ^ Lower Vaal WMA 10
  5. ^ Key rivers of South Africa
  6. ^ State of the Environment of South Africa (SOESA), Annual National State of the Environment Report
  7. ^ Thompson, G. (1827). Travels and Adventures in Southern Africa I. Henry Colburn,London. pp. 74.
  8. ^ a b du Plessis, E.J. (1973). Suid-Afrikaanse berg- en riviername. Tafelberg-uitgewers,Cape Town. pp. 326, 221. ISBN 0-624-00273-X.

External links