Mbhashe River

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Mbhashe River
Mbashe, Bashee
Name origin: Referring either to 'dark river' or 'dangerous ravine' in the Xhosa language, or perhaps named after a person called 'Mbashe'[1]
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape Province
Source Drakensberg
 - location NE of Elliot, Eastern Cape
 - elevation 1,700 m (5,577 ft)
Mouth Indian Ocean
 - location Bashee
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 32°15′S 28°54′E / 32.250°S 28.900°E / -32.250; 28.900Coordinates: 32°15′S 28°54′E / 32.250°S 28.900°E / -32.250; 28.900
Basin 6,030 km2 (2,328 sq mi)
Location of the Mbhashe River mouth

Mbhashe River, Mbashe River or Bashee River is one of the major rivers in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. It flows in a southeastern direction and has a catchment area of 6,030 km².[2] The river drains into the Indian Ocean through an estuary located near the lighthouse at Bashee, south of Mhlanganisweni.[3]

The Mbhashe river's main tributaries are the Xuka River, Mgwali River, Dutywa River and the Mnyolo River. Presently this river is part of the Mzimvubu to Keiskamma Water Management Area.[4]


In 1554 Portuguese ship São Bento ran aground at the mouth of the Mbhashe River. The ordeal of 322 of its survivors, who walked from there to Lourenço Marques, presently Maputo, has been recorded.[5]

Mvezo is a village on the banks of the Mbashe River, where Nelson Mandela was born in 1918.[6]


Some of the fishes caught in its waters are Labeobarbus aeneus, Barbus pallidus, Barbus anoplus, Myxus capensis, Anguilla marmorata and Anguilla mossambica. Labeobarbus aeneus is an invasive species, now widely present in the river system.[7]

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