Mthatha River

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Mthatha River ('mtathe Bawo)
Umtata River
Coffee Bay.jpg
close to where the Mthatha River meets the Indian Ocean
Name origin: Referring in the Xhosa language to the Sneeze-wood trees (Ptaeroxylon obliquum) growing on the banks of the river[1]
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape Province
 - location Baziya Range, Eastern Cape, South Africa
 - elevation 1,500 m (4,921 ft)
Mouth Indian Ocean
 - location Coffee Bay, South Africa
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 31°56′S 29°11′E / 31.933°S 29.183°E / -31.933; 29.183Coordinates: 31°56′S 29°11′E / 31.933°S 29.183°E / -31.933; 29.183
Length 250 km (155 mi)
Basin 2,600 km2 (1,004 sq mi)
Location of the Mthatha River mouth

Mthatha River or Umtata River (Xhosa: 'mtathe Bawo) is a river in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. The river flows into the Indian Ocean in an estuary located near Coffee Bay. The Mthatha river flows in a southeastern direction and is approximately 250 km long with a catchment area of 2,600 km². It is named after Mthatha Town (Umtata).[2]

Its main tributaries are the Ngqungqu River and the Cicira River.[3]

The Mthatha River marks the southern limit of the Pondoland region.[4]


Presently this river is part of the Mzimvubu to Keiskamma Water Management Area.[5]

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