Sand River (Free State)

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Sand River
10 of 'History of the Boers in South Africa ... with three maps' (11189449154), crop.jpg
Sand River (middle right) on a map of 1887
Sand River (Free State) is located in South Africa
Sand River (Free State)
Location of the Sand River mouth
EtymologyNamed after an incident in which a wagon got stuck into the sand of its dry riverbed[1]
CountrySouth Africa
StateFree State
Physical characteristics
SourceBy Tweefontein
 ⁃ locationNW of Ficksburg
 ⁃ elevation1,660 m (5,450 ft)
MouthVet River
 ⁃ location
Near Tierfontein
 ⁃ coordinates
28°5′33″S 26°24′51″E / 28.09250°S 26.41417°E / -28.09250; 26.41417Coordinates: 28°5′33″S 26°24′51″E / 28.09250°S 26.41417°E / -28.09250; 26.41417
 ⁃ elevation
1,260 m (4,130 ft)
Length200 km (120 mi)

The Sand River (Afrikaans: Sandrivier, formerly Zand Rivier[2]) is a river in the Free State, South Africa. It is located close to Welkom and Virginia in the gold mining center of the Free State. Its source is located close to Tweefontein NW of Ficksburg not far from the South Africa/Lesotho border, at 28°40′49″S 27°41′23″E / 28.68028°S 27.68972°E / -28.68028; 27.68972. This river is famous because of the historical Sand River Convention, an important event in South African history.

Catchment and tributaries[edit]

The Sand River is a tributary of the Vet, in turn a tributary of the Vaal. It is considered part of the Middle Vaal Catchment Management Area.[3] It is only dammed by the Allemanskraal Dam in the Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve.


The Sand River Convention that led to the independence of the Transvaal Republic was signed in a marquee on the banks of the Sand River on 17 January 1852. A monument commemorating the ceremony can today be found on the banks of the river some 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Winburg.[4]

On 25 March 25, 1900, during the guerrilla phase of the Anglo-Boer War, a Council-of-War led by the Boers that wanted to continue with the hostilities was held at a bridge over the Sand River.[5]

In 1988 the Sand River burst its banks and flooded parts of Virginia town. In 1994 the Merriespruit tailings dam disaster occurred just outside Virginia, killing seventeen people.[6]

The river was named after an incident where a wagon got bogged down in its sand, and had to be unloaded before the journey could continue.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dictionary of Southern African Place Names
  2. ^ a b Raper, P. E. Sand River. Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  3. ^ Free State Region River Systems – 2003 (PDF). Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (South Africa). March 2004. p. 28. ISBN 0-620-31794-9.
  4. ^ "Ventersburg – Lejweleputswa – Free State". Free State Tourism. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  5. ^ The Anglo-Boer War I: Review
  6. ^ Wagener, F (1997). "The Merriespruit slimes dam failure: Overview and lessons learnt". SAICE Journal. 39 (3): 11–15.

External links[edit]