Umzimkulu River

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Umzimkulu River
uMzimkhulu, Mzimkulu
Umzimkulu river scene
Name origin: Meaning 'big place', 'large home', ie of the waters, in the Xhosa language[1]
Country South Africa
Region KwaZulu-Natal
Source _
 - location Drakensberg
Source confluence Ngwangwane / Underberg
 - elevation 943 m (3,094 ft)
 - coordinates 30°03′24″S 29°47′26″E / 30.05667°S 29.79056°E / -30.05667; 29.79056
Mouth Indian Ocean
 - location Port Shepstone
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 30°44′12″S 30°27′25″E / 30.73667°S 30.45694°E / -30.73667; 30.45694Coordinates: 30°44′12″S 30°27′25″E / 30.73667°S 30.45694°E / -30.73667; 30.45694
Location of the Umzimkulu River mouth

The Umzimkulu River is a river in South Africa.[2] It rises in the Drakensberg mountains at the confluence of the Ngwangwane and the Underberg River. It flows southeast towards the Indian Ocean, which it enters through an estuary at Port Shepstone.

Towns on the Umzimkulu include Underberg and Umzimkulu. Its main tributary is the Bisi River which joins its right bank about halfway down its course.[3] In the past, the Umzimkulu formed part of the border between Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal.

Presently this river is part of the Mvoti to Umzimkulu Water Management Area.[4]

In late February of every year, the river is host to one of South Africa's most popular canoe races, the Drak Challenge.[5]


The Scaly Yellowfish (Labeobarbus natalensis) is a fish found in the Umzimkulu River System as well as in the Umgeni, Umkomazi, Tukhela and the Umfolozi. It is a common endemic species in KwaZulu-Natal Province and it lives in different habitats between the Drakensberg foothills and the coastal lowlands.[6]

Mzimkulu River near Underberg

See also[edit]


External links[edit]