Vaal River, South Africa

Although the Vaal River’s water level has subsided substantially since it burst it banks two weeks ago, the devastation in towns like Parys in the Free State was still palpable as people picked up the pieces after the devasting floods. The river was back to complete tranquillity when we visited the area over the weekend, but the trail of mud and debris on the banks gave us a frightening perspective of just how vengeful the Vaal must have surged down to the coast. The Vaal River is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa and has its source near Breyten in the Mpumalanga Province, east of Johannesburg and about 30km north of the coal mining town of Ermelo which is only about 240km from the Indian Ocean (to the east). The river flows southwest though to its conjunction with the Orange River near Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province. The Vaal is 1458km long and is the third largest river in South Africa after the Orange River (2200km long) and the Limpopo River (1750km long) and was established as the main source of water for the Greater Witwatersrand area in the 19th century after the great gold rush which resulted in the establishment of the city of Johannesburg. If you’re interested in the natural resources in Africa, and the sustainable utilisation and extraction thereof, remember to subscribe to WhyAfrica’s YouTube channel on @whyafrica4709. We tell the real African story, what we see and hear, is what you get.

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