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Encyclopedia > Orange River
Orange
Gariep, Senqu
Sunset over the Orange River near Upington in the Northern Cape
Countries Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia
Landmarks Gariep Dam, Augrabies Falls
Length 2,200 km (1,367 mi)
Watershed 973,000 km² (375,677 sq mi)
Source Senqu
 - location Drakensberg mountains, Lesotho
Mouth Alexander Bay
 - location Atlantic Ocean
Major tributaries
 - right Caledon River, Vaal River, Fish River (Namibia)
The course and watershed of the Orange River. This map shows a conservative border for the watershed. Specifically, the Kalahari basin is excluded, as some sources say it is endorheic. [1] Some other sources using computational methods show a basin which includes parts of Botswana (and hence of the Kalahari). [2]

The Orange River (Afrikaans/Dutch: Oranjerivier), Gariep River or Senqu River is the longest river in South Africa. 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 as well as between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Although the river does not pass through any major cities, it plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation, as well as hydroelectric power. Upington is a town founded in 1871 located in the Northern Cape, South Africa, along the Orange River. ... Capital Kimberley Largest city Kimberley Premier Elizabeth Dipuo Peters (ANC) Area - Total Ranked 1st 361,830 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 9th 822,726 2/km² Languages Afrikaans (70%) Tswana (20%) Xhosa (6. ... The Gariep Dam was originally called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd on its commission in 1971. ... The Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River, South Africa, within the Augrabies Falls National Park. ... “km” redirects here. ... “Miles” redirects here. ... Square kilometre (U.S. spelling: square kilometer), symbol km², is a decimal multiple of SI unit of surface area square metre, one of the SI derived units. ... A square mile is an English unit of area equal to that of a square with sides each 1 statute mile (≈1,609 m) in length. ... The Drakensberg Drakensberg Range from space, April 1993 Maluti mountains in Lesotho The Drakensberg (Afrikaans for Dragons Mountain) mountains are the highest in Southern Africa, rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. ... Alexander Bay is a town in the extreme north-west of South Africa. ... The Caledon River is located in south-east Africa, rising in the Drakensberg Mountanins in Lesotho. ... The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 515 pixelsFull resolution (1150 × 741 pixel, file size: 556 KB, MIME type: image/png) Other versions Image:Orange_watershed_plain. ... The Kalahari Desert is a large, arid to semi-arid sandy area in southern Africa that covers about 500,000 km². It covers 70% of Botswana, and parts of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. ... The shores of Lake Hart, an endorheic desert lake in South Australia In geography, an endorheic basin—also called a terminal or closed basin—is a watershed from which there is no outflow of water, either on the surface as rivers, or underground by flow or diffusion through rock or... Look up Appendix:Afrikaans and Dutch Swadesh lists in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Drakensberg Drakensberg Range from space, April 1993 Maluti mountains in Lesotho The Drakensberg (Afrikaans for Dragons Mountain) mountains are the highest in Southern Africa, rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. ...

Contents

Course

The Orange rises in the Drakensberg mountains along the border between South Africa and Lesotho, about 193 km (120 miles) west of the Indian Ocean and at an altitude of over 3000m. While in Lesotho, the river is known as the Senqu and parts of it freeze in winter, because of the altitude there. The Drakensberg Drakensberg Range from space, April 1993 Maluti mountains in Lesotho The Drakensberg (Afrikaans for Dragons Mountain) mountains are the highest in Southern Africa, rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. ...


The river then runs westwards through South Africa, forming the south-western boundary of the Free State province. In this section the river flows into first the Gariep Dam (this largest in the country), and on to the Vanderkloof Dam. From the border of Lesotho to below the Van der Kloof Dam the river bed is deeply incised. Further downstream the land is flatter, and the river is used extensively for irrigation. Capital Bloemfontein Largest city Bloemfontein Area  - Total Ranked 3rd 129,480 km² Premier Beatrice Marshoff (ANC) Population   - 2001   - 1996   - Density Ranked 8th 2,706,776 2,633,504 21/km² (2001) Languages Sotho (62%) Afrikaans (14%) isiXhosa (9. ... The Gariep Dam was originally called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd on its commission in 1971. ...


At the western point of the Free State, southwest of Kimberley, the Orange meets with its main tributary, the Vaal River, which itself forms much of the northern border of the province. From here the river flows further westwards through the arid wilderness of the southern Kalahari region and Namaqualand in the Northern Cape Province to meet with Namibia at the 20th degree of east longitude. From here it flows westwards for 550km [3], forming the international border between the province and Namibia's Karas Region. On the border, the river passes the town of Vioolsdrif, the Customs and Excise post between South Africa and Namibia. Kimberley is a town in South Africa, and the capital of the Northern Cape. ... The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. ... The Kalahari Desert is a large, arid to semi-arid sandy area in southern Africa that covers about 500,000 km². It covers 70% of Botswana, and parts of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. ... Namaqualand (Afrikaans: Namakwaland) is an arid region of South Africa, extending along the west coast over 600 miles and covering a total area of 170,000 square miles/440,000 km². It is divided by the lower course of the Orange River into two portions - Little Namaqualand to the south... Northern Cape is a province of South Africa, created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. ... Border has several different, but related meanings: Generic borders A border can consist of a margin around the edge of something, such as a lawn, garden, photograph, or sheet of paper. ... Area: 161,325 km² (62,288 mi²) Population: 69,677 Population density 0. ... Vioolsdrif is a village on the Orange River in the north-western part of South Africa. ... Customs and Excise refers to customs duties and excise duties. ...


In the last 800 km (500 miles) of its course the Orange receives many intermittent streams and several large wadis lead into it. In this section, the Namib Desert terminates on the north bank of the river, so under normal circumstances the volume of water added by these tributaries is negligible. Here the bed of the river is once again deeply incised. The Hundred Falls or Augrabies Falls are located on this section of the Orange, where the river descends 122 m (400 ft) in a course of 26 km (16 miles). Wadi alMujib, Jordan A wadi (Arabic: ) is traditionally a valley. ... Dune 7, one of the highest sand dunes in the world (ca. ... Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located about 120 km west of Upington in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. ...

This image shows only the last 100 kilometers or so of the Orange River. In this last stretch the gravel deposits in the river bed and along the banks are rich with diamonds, and several diamond mines operate along the stretch pictured here.
This image shows only the last 100 kilometers or so of the Orange River. In this last stretch the gravel deposits in the river bed and along the banks are rich with diamonds, and several diamond mines operate along the stretch pictured here.

The Orange empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay, which lies about equidistant between Cape Town and Walvis Bay. Some 33 km (20 miles) from its mouth it is completely obstructed by rapids and sand bars and is generally not navigable for long stretches. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Alexander Bay is a town in the extreme north-west of South Africa. ... Nickname: Motto: Spes Bona (Latin for Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Coordinates: , Country Province Municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality Founded 1652 Government [1]  - Type City council  - Mayor Helen Zille  - City manager Achmat Ebrahim Area  - Total 2,499 km² (964. ... Walvis Bay, Namibia Walvis Bay, (Dutch/Afrikaans Walvisbaai, meaning Whale Bay), is an area in Namibia with a checkered history. ... For other uses, see Rapid (disambiguation). ... In geography, a bar is a linear shoaling landform feature within a body of water. ...


The river has a total length of 2200 km (1367 mi).


Catchment and rainfall

The Augrabies Falls on the river during the dry season.
The Augrabies Falls on the river during the dry season.

In the dry winter months the volume of the water in the river is considerably reduced because of the rapid run-off and evaporation. At the source of the Orange the rainfall is approximately 2000 mm per annum but precipitation decreases as the river flows westward; at its mouth the rainfall is less than 50 mm per annum. The factors that support evaporation, on the other hand, tend to increase in a westerly direction. However, in the wet season (summer) the Orange river becomes an impetuous, brown torrent. The huge mass of sediment carried constitutes a long-term threat to all engineering projects on the river. The Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River, South Africa, within the Augrabies Falls National Park. ... Vaporization redirects here. ... In meteorology, precipitation is any kind of water that falls from the sky as part of the weather. ...


The total catchment of the Orange River (including the Vaal) extends over 973 000 km², i.e. about 77% of the land area of the RSA (1 268 5358 km²). Approximately 366 000 km² (38%), however, is situated outside the country in Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia.


History

Name of the river

The river was first discovered by indigenous Nama people, who called it the Nu Gariep. [3] The river was named the Orange River by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the Dutch East India Company garrison at Cape Town, on a trip to the interior. Gordon named the river in honour of William of Orange. [3] A popular but incorrect belief is that the river was named after the supposedly orange colour of its water, as opposed to the colour its tributary, the Vaal River ( 'vaal' being Afrikaans for pale or grey). Since the end of apartheid, the original name, "Gariep" has had greater favour in official correspondence in South Africa, although the name "Orange" has greater international recognition. [3] In Lesotho, where the river rises, it is known as the Senqu River. Nama may mean: Nama (plant), a genus of plants in the family Hydrophyllaceae. ... This article is about the trading company. ... Nickname: Motto: Spes Bona (Latin for Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Coordinates: , Country Province Municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality Founded 1652 Government [1]  - Type City council  - Mayor Helen Zille  - City manager Achmat Ebrahim Area  - Total 2,499 km² (964. ... William of Orange (French: Guillaume, Dutch: Willem, German Wilhelm, Latin Guilelmus) is the name of several historical persons. ... The Principality of Orange The title originally referred to the sovereign principality of Orange in southern France, which was a property of the House of Orange (from 1702 Orange-Nassau). ... The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. ... Look up Appendix:Afrikaans and Dutch Swadesh lists in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ...

Panorama taken from a fluorspar-rich hill overlooking a bend in the River, which was in flood due to above-normal rains.
Panorama taken from a fluorspar-rich hill overlooking a bend in the River, which was in flood due to above-normal rains.

Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 168 pixelsFull resolution (7661 × 1611 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 168 pixelsFull resolution (7661 × 1611 pixel, file size: 2. ... This article is an overview of the term Panorama. ... Octahedral fluorite crystals from New Mexico, USA Fluorite (also called fluor-spar or Blue John) is a mineral composed of calcium fluoride, CaF2. ...

Economy

The General Hertzog Bridge over the Orange River at Aliwal North on the southwestern border with the Free State. Note the remains of the Frere Bridge on the left.
The General Hertzog Bridge over the Orange River at Aliwal North on the southwestern border with the Free State. Note the remains of the Frere Bridge on the left.
  • The Orange River plays a major role in supporting agriculture, industry and mining. To assist in this, two large water schemes have been created, the Orange River Project and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
  • There are important deposits of alluvial diamonds along the Orange River and around its mouth.
  • Because of the lack of dangerous animals and high water levels during summer, the river is used for recreational canoeing.

Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1600 × 1200 pixel, file size: 460 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author: Gregorydavid 18:37, 29 December 2006 (UTC) I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1600 × 1200 pixel, file size: 460 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author: Gregorydavid 18:37, 29 December 2006 (UTC) I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document... Cover of Time Magazine (April 27, 1925) James Barry Munnik Hertzog, better known as Barry Hertzog, (1866-1942) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1924 to 1939. ... Aliwal North is a town on the Orange River, in central South Africa. ... For the term free state as it arises in United States history, see: Free state. ... Portrait of Sir Henry Bartle Frere Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, 1st Baronet GCB GCSI (March 29, 1815–May 29, 1884) was a British administrator. ... Katse Dam reservoir and intake tower The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is an ongoing water supply project with a small hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa. ... Alluvium is soil land deposited by a river or other running water. ... This article is about the mineral. ... Canoeing is the recreational or sporting activity of paddling a canoe or kayak. ...

Orange River Project

The Orange River Project (ORP) was one of the largest and most imaginative projects of its kind in South Africa was constructed by Verwoerd's government at the height of the apartheid era. The ORP was built to utilise the unused water of the Orange River — which, without the Vaal River, represents some 14.1% of the total runoff in South Africa — and in the process, to satisfy an increasing demand for water. The main objectives of the project were: ...

  • to stabilise river flow,
  • the generation and transmission of hydro-electric power,
  • to provide a reliable water supply for users in the Orange river basin, and
  • to give a new lease of life to water-deficient areas in the Eastern Cape such as the Great Fish and Sundays River valleys.

The Gariep Dam near Colesberg, named the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam when built, is the main storage structure within the Orange River. From here the water is supplied in two directions: westward along the Orange River (via hydro-electric power generators) to the Vanderkloof Dam which was previously named the PK le Roux Dam , and southward through the Orange-Fish Tunnel to the Eastern Cape. Hydroelectric dam diagram The waters of Llyn Stwlan, the upper reservoir of the Ffestiniog Pumped-Storage Scheme in north Wales, can just be glimpsed on the right. ... Water supply is the process of self-provision or provision by third parties of water of various qualities to different users. ... Capital Bhisho Largest city Port Elizabeth Premier Nosimo Balindlela Area - Total Ranked 2nd 169,580 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 3rd 6,436,761 38/km² Languages Xhosa (83%) Afrikaans (9. ... The Great Fish River is a river running through the South African province of Cape Midlands. ... The Sundays River is a river in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and is said to be the fastest flowing river in South Africa. ... The Gariep Dam was originally called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd on its commission in 1971. ... Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (8 September 1901 - 6 September 1966) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 to 1966, when he was assassinated. ...


Hydro-electricity

The Gariep Dam on the Orange River is the largest dam in South Africa, and was a key part of the Orange River Project.

Eskom operates hydro-electric power-stations at both the Gariep Dam and the Vanderkloof Dam. The hydro-electric power station at the Vanderkloof Dam was the first power-generation station in South Africa situated entirely underground. The towns Oviston and Oranjekrag were established to facilitate the construction and operation of the new infrastructure. The Gariep Dam was originally called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd on its commission in 1971. ... Eskom is a South African electricity public utility company. ... The Gariep Dam was originally called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd on its commission in 1971. ...


Irrigation

A wine farm on the Orange River
A wine farm on the Orange River

Irrigation in the vast area downstream of the Vanderkloof Dam, which has turned thousands of hectares of arid veld into highly productive agricultural land, was made possible by the construction of the Gariep Dam and the Vanderkloof Dam. Old, established irrigation schemes such as those at Buchuberg, Upington, Kakamas and Vioolsdrif have also benefitted because regulation of the flow is now possible. A hectare (symbol ha) is a unit of area, equal to 10 000 square metres, commonly used for measuring land area. ... Upington is a town founded in 1871 located in the Northern Cape, South Africa, along the Orange River. ... Vioolsdrif is a village on the Orange River in the north-western part of South Africa. ...


In recent years the wine producing areas along the Orange River have also grown in importance. See the article Northern Cape wine.


Irrigation in the Eastern Cape has also received a tremendous boost, not only from the additional water that is being made available but also owing to improvement in water quality. Without this improvement the citrus farmers along the Lower Sundays River would almost certainly have continued to suffer losses of productivity. For other uses, see Citrus (disambiguation). ...


Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Main article: Lesotho Highlands Water Project

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project was conceived to supplement the water supply in the Vaal River System. Water is delivered to South Africa by means of the Delivery Tunnel which passes under the Lesotho South Africa border at the Caledon River and then under the Little Caledon River south of Clarens in the Free State and discharges into the Ash River about 30km further to the north. The scheme became viable when water demands in Gauteng reached levels that could no longer be supported economically by alternative schemes such as the Tugela River-Vaal River pumped storage scheme, which utilized the Sterkfontein Dam, located near Harrismith in the Free State. Katse Dam reservoir and intake tower The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is an ongoing water supply project with a small hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa. ... The Caledon River is located in south-east Africa, rising in the Drakensberg Mountanins in Lesotho. ... Categories: South Africa stubs | Provinces of South Africa | Gauteng Province ... The Tugela River (also known as Thukela) is the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. ... The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. ... Harrismith is a large town situated on the N3 highway in the Free State Province between Johannesburg (about 350 km from Johannesburg) and Durban. ...


Rafting and canoeing

Rafting on the Orange River is a popular tourist activity.
Rafting on the Orange River is a popular tourist activity.

During the temperate months of March and April, given good rains and the sluices of the dams being open a canoeist (or rafter) can easily travel 30 km per day. The lower reaches of the river are most popular, because of the spectacular topography. Commercial tours are available and these expeditions depart from the border town of Vioolsdrif. Vioolsdrif is a village on the Orange River in the north-western part of South Africa. ...


Miscellaneous

  • In pre-colonial times the river almost certainly was home to the hippopotamus but, if so, these disappeared long ago.
  • Because of the river's geographical position, it is too cold in winter to support crocodiles.

Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758[2] Range map[1] The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), from the Greek ἱπποπόταμος (hippopotamos, hippos meaning horse and potamos meaning river), often shortened to hippo, is a large, mostly plant-eating African mammal, one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other being the Pygmy... For other uses, see Crocodile (disambiguation). ...

References

  1. ^ Swanevelder, C. J. (1981), Utilising South Africa's largest river: The physiographic background to the Orange River scheme, GeoJournal vol 2 supp 2 pg 29-40
  2. ^ Revenga, C.; Murray, S.; Abramovitz, J. and Hammond, A . (1998) Watersheds of the world: Ecological value and vulnerability, World Resources Institute, ISBN 1-56973-254-X
  3. ^ a b c d Earle, Anton et al (2005), A preliminary basin profile of the Orange/Senqu River (pdf), African Centre for Water Research, retrieved 30 June 2007

External links

  • Map of the Orange River basin at Water Resources eAtlas
  • Map of portion of Orange River basin forming part of South Africa
  • Information on the Orange River from the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

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