Komati River


Komati River

The Komati River (also called Incomati River) is a river in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. It is convert|480|km|mi|0 long, with a drainage basin convert|50000|km2|sqmi|-2 in size. Its mean annual discharge is 111 m³/s (3,920 cfs) at its mouth. [cite book |last= Nakayama |first= Mikiyasu |title= International Waters in Southern Africa |year= 2003 |publisher= United Nations University Press |isbn= 9280810774 |pages= p. 9; online at [http://books.google.com/books?id=Ittv1oAJ37sC Google Books] ] The name Komati is derived from "inkomati" (siSwati), meaning "cow", as its perennial nature is compared to a cow that always has milk. [cite book|last = du Plessis|first = E.J.|coauthors =|title = Suid-Afrikaanse berg- en riviername|publisher = Tafelberg-uitgewers, Cape Town|year = 1973|pages = pp. 251|isbn = 0-624-00273X]

Geography

The river rises at an elevation of about 5,000 feet near Breyten in the Ermelo district of the Mpumalanga province. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9045967/Komati-River Online Encyclopedia Brittanica] ] . It flows in a general northeasterly direction and reaches the Indian Ocean at Delagoa Bay, after a course of some convert|480|km|mi|0. The Komati Gorge is situated in the upper reaches of the Komati River and is the habitat of some endangered species such as the Southern Bald Ibis. [ [http://www.luminatechnologies.org/luminawws.html C. Michael Hogan and Amy Gregory, "Ecology of Komati Gorge", July 22, 2006] ] In 2001 the 115m high wall of the Maguga Dam was completed south of Piggs Peak, Swaziland, coord|25|56|51|S|30|04|53|E|type:river.

In its upper valley near Steynsdorp are gold-fields, but the reefs consist almost entirely of low grade ore. The river descends the Drakensberg by a pass 30 miles south of Barberton, and is deflected northward at the eastern border of Swaziland, keeping a course parallel to the Lebombo mountains. Just west of 32°E and 25°25'S, near the town of Komatipoort, it is joined by the Crocodile River, one of several river in South Africa by that name. The Crocodile tributary rises, as the Elands River, in the Bergendal (1,961m) near the upper waters of the Komati, and flows eastwards across the highveld, being turned northward as it reaches the Drakensberg escarpment. The fall to the lowveld is over 600m in convert|30|mi|km|0, and across the convert|100|mi|km|0 wide country between the Drakensberg and the Lebombo there is a further fall of 900m.

Just over a kilometre below the junction of the Crocodile, the united stream, which from this point is also known as the Manhissa, passes to the coastal plain through a 190m high cleft, high in the Lebombo known as Komati Poort, where there are some picturesque falls. At Komati Poort, which marks the frontier between South Africa and Mozambique, the river is less than convert|60|mi|km|0 from its mouth in a direct line, but in crossing the plain it makes a wide sweep of convert|200|mi|km|0, first northwards before turning southwards, forming lagoon-like expanses and backwaters and receiving from the north several tributaries. In flood time there is a connection northward through the swamps with the basin of the Limpopo. The Komati enters the sea convert|15|mi|km|0 north of Maputo. It is navigable from its mouth, where the water is up to 5m deep, to the foot of the Lebombo.

History

The Portuguese named the river's lower reaches the Rio des Reijs, or "river of rice". Subsequently Jan van Riebeeck's journal mentions a Rio de Reijs, when he dispatched a ship up the east coast in search of rice supplies. [cite book|last = Thom|first = H.B.|coauthors =|title = Journal of Jan van Riebeeck|publisher = A.A. Balkema, Cape Town|year = 1952|pages = p. 243|isbn = ] In voortrekker Louis Tregardt's journal it is referred to as the Manhissa, [cite book|last = Preller|first = G.S.|coauthors =|title = Dagboek van Louis Trichardt|publisher = Nas. Pers Bpk., Cape Town|year = 1938|pages = p. 334, footnote|isbn = ] a name still extant, while to the British it was known as the King George River. [cite book|last = Robertson|first = J.W.|coauthors =|title = Traveller's Guide for South Africa|publisher = The Standard Printing Co., East London|date = |pages = pp. VIII|isbn = ]

In 1725 a Dutch expedition led by Francois de Kuiper explored the region of the lower Komati and travelled 30km into the current Mpumalanga province, before they were attacked by local tribes and had to return to Delagoa Bay.

On the September 23, 1900 during the Second Boer War, 3,000 Boers crossed the frontier at the small town of Komati Poort, and surrendered to the Portuguese authorities. On November 7, 1900 the banks of the Komati became the site of a battle between the British Empire and the Boers. The Battle of Leliefontein was a retreat by the British, harassed by the Boers, who were threatening to capture the British Artillery. The British guns were saved by the Royal Canadian Dragoons who charged the Boers, whereby they placed the guns out of their reach.

Railway

The railway from Maputo to Pretoria traverses the plain in a direct line, and at seventy-two kilometres, reaches the Komati. It follows the south bank of the river and enters the high country at Komati Poort. From the Poort westward the railway skirts the south bank of the Crocodile River throughout its length.

ee also

* Komatipoort
* List of rivers of South Africa

References

External links

* [http://www.ecs.co.sz/magugadam/maguga_dam.htm The Maguga Dam Project]


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