Celebrating the Limpopo River | World River Day 2020

According to the World Rivers Day Association this day “is a celebration of the world’s waterways. It highlights the many values of our rivers, strives to increase public awareness, and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world. Rivers in virtually every country face an array of threats, and only through our active involvement can we ensure their health in the years ahead.’’

In honour of this day, EcoTraining thought what better way to celebrate rivers than with some facts about the legendary Limpopo River which we are incredibly lucky to witness on a daily basis from our EcoTraining Makuleke Camp. This region is rich in life, from countless baobabs to some of the largest elephant herds that can be seen in southern Africa, this area sure is magnificent and one of the fundaments reasons why is due to the Limpopo River.

Do you know where the source of the Limpopo River is?

Would you believe us if we told you that the start of the mighty river is in the heart of the City of Gold, that’s right Johannesburg. It was always thought that the Crocodile River was the main source of the Limpopo River especially due to the volume of water, but it has been found that it is in fact the Jukskei Rivers southernmost limit that makes up the Limpopo. The Crocodile River rises to the west of Johannesburg in the Witwatersrand near an area called Roodepoort. Witwatersrand is an Afrikaans word when translated means “ridge of white waters“.

From the Limpopo’s source to the coasts of Mozambique, the river is around 1,750 km long and what makes this river even more impressive is that it shares borders with four countries, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Map of Limpop River
Map of Limpop River

Did you know that most rivers in South Africa, as much as 82% are classified as threatened, and of that 82%, 54% of these rivers are critically threatened, its not really a thought that crosses your mind when you think of the word ‘threatened’ it would normally relate to Wild Dogs, Pangolin or Rhino, but just as important as those creatures are, so are the rivers that surround them.

Of these rivers, The Crocodile River and Vaal River are believed to be the two hardest working rivers in the country.

“The water supply is put at risk by taking too much water out of rivers during a drought, aggravating pollution, as there is insufficient rain for the unnatural dilution to take place.” This is according to a spokesman from the Department of Water and Sanitation. The department identified several rivers severely affected by pollution, here are just a few we can mention:

In Gauteng: the Jukskei River which is mainly affected by sewage, industrial and urban runoff/

In Northern Cape: the lower reaches of the Vaal River and the Hartsrivier which is a tributary to the Vaal and then turns into the largest tributary to the Orange River is affected by sewage, irrigation runoff, untreated abattoir waste, illegal alluvial diamond and sand mining.

In Mpumalanga: the upper reaches of the Olifants and its tributaries are affected by coal mining and acid mine drainage.

Map of Limpop River
Map of Limpop River
Map of Limpop River
Map of Limpop River

The most common denominator here which we are sure you picked up on, is POLLUTION!
We are polluting our rivers on a daily basis and in order for us to make a difference we need to be made aware of this and that is why the World River Day has been put in place, so even though it is only one day a year, let us try and remember the importance of the rivers that surround us, and next time you are fishing, swimming or enjoying your time in a nearby river, remember if we do not look after these beautiful areas they may not be around one day!

We made a video about the amazing Limpopo River, have a look and enjoy the wonderful views and animal life that surrounds the legendary Limpopo.