Mzingwane River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mzingwane River
Mzingwane above Fultons Drift 02 03 07.JPG
Mzingwane River above Fulton's Drift (causeway), near Beitbridge, Zimbabwe
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationSouth of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
 ⁃ location
Limpopo River, South Africa–Zimbabwe border
 ⁃ coordinates
22°11′13″S 29°55′32″E / 22.18694°S 29.92556°E / -22.18694; 29.92556Coordinates: 22°11′13″S 29°55′32″E / 22.18694°S 29.92556°E / -22.18694; 29.92556
 ⁃ elevation
452 m (1,483 ft)
Basin size15,695 km2 (6,060 sq mi)
 ⁃ average22.30 m3/s (788 cu ft/s)
Mzingwane is located in Zimbabwe
Location of the Mzingwane River's mouth

The Mzingwane River, formerly known Umzingwane River as or Umzingwani River is a major left-bank tributary of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe. It rises near Fort Usher, Matobo District, south of Bulawayo and flows into the Limpopo River near Beitbridge, downstream of the mouth of the Shashe River and upstream of the mouth of the Bubye River.


The Mzingwane River is an ephemeral river with flow generally restricted to the months when rain takes place (November to March), with most flow recorded between December and February, except where it has been modified by dam operations.[2] The river contributes 9.3% of the mean annual runoff of the Limpopo Basin, making it the third largest tributary to the Limpopo basin.[1]

Major tributaries of the Mzingwane River include the Insiza, Inyankuni, Ncema, Umchabezi (not to be confused with Mtshabezi) and Mtetengwe Rivers.

The lower Mzingwane River is a sand filled channel, with extensive alluvial aquifers in the river channel and below the alluvial plains. Estimated water resources potential of these aquifers ranges between 175,000 m3 and 5,430,0003 in the channels and between 80,000 m3 and 6,920,0003 in the plains. Currently, some of these aquifers are being used to provide water for domestic use, livestock watering and dip tanks, commercial irrigation and market gardening.[3]

Settlements along the river[edit]

The settlements below are ordered from the beginning of the river to its end:

Bridges and crossings[edit]

Bertie Knott Bridge on the Mzingwane River near Beitbridge.

There are four main bridges over the Mzingwane River:

There are also a number of fords, including:


Spillway of Zhovhe Dam, near Beitbridge.

In addition to a number of small weirs, there are two major dams on the Mzingwane River:

Additional dam sites have been identified at Glassblock and Oakley Block, but development is not currently scheduled.[5]

Currently, a project is underway to construct a pipeline from the upper Mtshabezi River (not to be confused with Umchabezi River) to Mzingwane Dam.


  1. ^ a b Görgens, A.H.M.; Boroto, R.A. (1997). Limpopo River: flow balance anomalies, surprises and implications for integrated water resources management. Proceedings of the 8th South African National Hydrology Symposium. Pretoria.
  2. ^ Love, D., Uhlenbrook, S., Nyabeze, W., Owen, R.J.S., Twomlow, S., Savenije, H. , Woltering, L. and van der Zaag, P. 2005. Modelling of hydrological change for IWRM planning: case study of the Mzingwane River, Limpopo Basin, Zimbabwe. In: Abstract Volume, 6th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium, Ezulwini, Swaziland, November 2005, p31.[1]
  3. ^ Moyce, W., Mangeya, P., Owen, R. and Love, D. 2006. Alluvial aquifers in the Mzingwane Catchment: their distribution, properties, current usage and potential expansion. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 31, 988-994. [2]
  4. ^ Beitbridge
  5. ^ Chibi, T., Kandori, C. and Makone, B.F. (2005). Mzingwane Catchment Outline Plan. Bulawayo: Zimbabwe National Water Authority.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)