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.
The river originates in
Mont-aux-Sources of the
and plunges 947 metres down the Tugela Falls. The
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. The
total catchment area is approximately 29,100 square kilometres
(11,200 sq mi). Land uses in the catchment are mainly
rural subsistence farming and commercial forestry.
British troops crossing the river during the Second Boer War
4 See also
6 External links
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. The Buffalo River
joins the Tugela some 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of Tugela Ferry
at 28°43′04″S 30°38′41″E / 28.71778°S 30.64472°E
/ -28.71778; 30.64472.
Blood River was named by the Boers, led by Andries Pretorius,
after their defeat of the Zulu king
Dingane on 16 December 1838, when
the river is said to have run red with the blood of Zulu warriors.
Blood River is Rorke's Drift, a crossing point and a battle
site, in the Anglo-Zulu War.
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
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:
Isaacs (1836) used a number of different spellings in his book,
Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa, including "Ootergale" and
C.R. Maclean (John Ross), writing in the Nautical Magazine in 1853,
used the spelling Zootagoola
Angus, a nineteenth-century artist, used the name "Tugala" on the
captions to his sketches.
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
List of rivers in South Africa
Dams on the Tugela
Driel Barrage Dam
^ Key rivers of South Africa
^ a b c "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.
^ Thukela WMA 7
^ Technical Report on the State of Yellowfishes in
South Africa 2007
Nathaniel Isaacs (1836). Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa -
Vol I. Edward Churton. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
^ C R Maclean (February 1853). "Loss of the Brig Mary at Natal with
Early Recollections of that Settlement - Two". The Nautical Magazine:
74–80Reproduced in The Natal Papers of John Ross, edited by Stephen
Gray; ISBN 978-0-869-80851-1
^ "Making outchoualla or native beer, at Gudu's kraal, Tugala River,
Zulu country", a sketch by G F Angus; National Library of Australia.
Media related to
Tugela River at Wikimedia Commons
Coordinates: 28°45′00″S 28°53′45″E / 28.75000°S
28.89583°E / -28.75000; 28.89583
Rivers of South Africa