The Tugela River ( zu, Thukela; af, Tugelarivier) is the largest river in
KwaZulu-Natal Province KwaZulu-Natal (, also referred to as KZN and known as "the garden province"; zu, iKwaZulu-Natali; xh, KwaZulu-Natala; af, KwaZoeloe-Natal) is a province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu bantustan of KwaZulu ("Place of the Z ...
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
. It is one of the most important rivers of the country. The river originates in
Mont-aux-Sources Mont-aux-Sources is a mountain in Southern Africa, forming one of the highest portions of the Drakensberg Range. It is mostly within Lesotho, with parts in the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces of South Africa. The peak is accessible from the ...
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 River, Orange and the Vaal River, Vaal. From the Drakensberg range, the Tugela follows a route through the KwaZulu-Natal midlands before flowing into the Indian Ocean. The total catchment area is approximately . Land uses in the catchment are mainly rural subsistence farming and commercial forestr


The Tugela has a number of tributaries coming off the Drakensberg, the largest being the Buffalo River (KwaZulu-Natal), Mzinyathi ("Buffalo") River (rising near Majuba Hill), but also the Little Tugela River, Klip River (KwaZulu-Natal), Klip River (rising near Van Reenen Pass), Mooi River (river, KwaZulu-Natal), Mooi River, Blood River, Sundays River (KwaZulu-Natal), Sundays River (rising in the Biggarsberg) Ingagani River and Bushman River. The Buffalo River joins the Tugela some east of Tugela Ferry at . The Battle of Blood River, Blood River was named by the Boers, led by Andries Pretorius, after they defeated the List of Zulu kings, 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.


The Scaly Yellowfish ''(Labeobarbus natalensis)'' is found in the Tugela River System. It is a common Endemism, 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 River, Umkomazi.


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, Isaacs (1836) used a number of different spellings in his book, ''Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa,'' including "''Ootergale''" and "''Ootoogale''". *Charles Rawden Maclean, 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."Making outchoualla or native beer, at Gudu's kraal, Tugala River, Zulu country"
a sketch by G F Angus; National Library of Australia.
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.

See also

* List of rivers in South Africa ;Dams on the Tugela * Driel Barrage Dam * Spioenkop Dam * Woodstock Dam


External links

{{Authority control Tugela River, Rivers of South Africa Rivers of KwaZulu-Natal