Mogalakwena River

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Waterberg SPOT 1369.jpg
SPOT Satellite photograph of the northern Waterberg showing on the right the Mogalakwena river at 900 m. The villages by the river are Kabeane, Jakkalskuil and Ga-Molekwa(also called Galakwena), part of Mogalakwena Local Municipality
Mogalakwena River is located in South Africa
Mogalakwena River
Location of the Mogalakwena River mouth
EtymologyMeaning "fierce crocodile", from bogale or mogale, 'fierce' and kwena, 'crocodile' in the Tswana language[1]
CountrySouth Africa
StateLimpopo Province
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ coordinates24°16′25″S 28°58′37″E / 24.27361°S 28.97694°E / -24.27361; 28.97694
 ⁃ elevation1,060 m (3,480 ft)
Source confluenceNyl River
 ⁃ locationSouth of confluence with Dorps River
 ⁃ location
Limpopo River, South Africa/Botswana border
 ⁃ coordinates
22°27′24″S 28°55′25″E / 22.45667°S 28.92361°E / -22.45667; 28.92361Coordinates: 22°27′24″S 28°55′25″E / 22.45667°S 28.92361°E / -22.45667; 28.92361
 ⁃ elevation
634 m (2,080 ft)
Basin size19,195 km2 (7,411 sq mi)

The Mogalakwena River (Afrikaans: Magalakwenarivier) is one of the main watercourses in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is also a major tributary of the Limpopo River.


This river flows from the eastern side of the Waterberg Massif northeastwards through a wide flooded plain as the Nyl River. After about 80 km it starts bending northwards and its name changes to Mogalakwena. Then it flows across Limpopo Province until it joins the right bank of the Limpopo River at the South Africa/Botswana border.[3]

The basin of the Mogalakwena is affected by a five-year rain cycle in which the river is virtually dry for five years, followed by another five years in which there is sufficient water flow.[4] There are 8 dams in the Mogalakwena basin.[5]

The highest concentration of hippopotamus in the Limpopo River is found between the Mokolo and the Mogalakwena Rivers.[6]


The southernmost stretch of the Mogalakwena River is the Nyl River, known for its wide flood-plain, also known as the Nyl pan (Afrikaans: Nylsvlei). The flood-plain is now the site of the Nylsvley Nature Reserve,[7] which houses one of the largest single ecosystems in South Africa for aquatic birds.[8]

The Sterk, Mothlakole, Dorps, Rooisloot, Groot Sandsloot, Matlalane, Seepabana, Pholotsi and Thwathwe, are tributaries of the Mogalakwena.[9]

Dams in the basin[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dictionary of Southern African Place Names Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  2. ^ Major rivers and streams within the Limpopo River Basin Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  3. ^ Limpopo WMA 1
  4. ^ Mogalakwena municipality: assessment of information[permanent dead link] (PDF) Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  5. ^ Mogalakwena Sub-basin Archived 2012-04-20 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  6. ^ State of Rivers Report: the Mokolo River (PDF)
  7. ^ "Nylsvlei Nature Reserve". Archived from the original on 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  8. ^ Hydrological and hydraulic modelling of the Nyl River floodplain (PDF) Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  9. ^ Mogalakwena catchment (PDF)

External links[edit]