The Molweni River

2018-01-16 06:00
Photo: Paolo CandottiKloof Falls.

Photo: Paolo CandottiKloof Falls.

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THE Molweni River is a perennial river which has its source in Springside Nature Reserve in Hillcrest (elevation 650m asl).

It then runs through residential suburbs before entering the Everton Gorge. There are also some smaller tributaries one of which starts near Camp Orchards in Inanda Road.

After exiting the Everton Gorge the Molweni crosses Kloof Falls Road near the Krantzkloof Conference Centre where it is dammed at the Kloof Falls Picnic Site. At this point it is also joined by a tributary, the Ipithi River.

After leaving the Kloof Falls Picnic Site the river falls into the main Kloof Gorge at the popular Kloof Falls which are the highest falls on the river.

Along the bottom of the gorge it flows along a granite base and exits the nature reserve about 500m after the popular crossing known as Ten Feet named as such because of the deep pool at that point.

From the reserve fence the river then flows for along a fertile plain in Lower Molweni where it joins the Umgeni River near a spot called Marble Arches.

The total distance of the river is approximately 16km

The Molweni River is generally a low volume river but can become a raging river as a result of the relatively steep hillsides in the area which result in rapid run-offs,

This is aggravated as most of the stormwater from most of the Upper Highway drains into its catchment.

The river has a wide range of aquatic life including freshwater shrimps, frogs, eels and the rare Redtailed Barb (Enteromius gurneyi).

The water is generally safe to swim in but it is not recommended that anyone should enter the water if they have any cuts or wounds.

It is believed that the derivation of the name “Molweni” is from the Xhosa meaning “greeting”

There are eight tributaries the largest of which is the Nkutu River which combines with the Molweni River in Lower Molweni.

Other perennial rivers and streams are Ipithi (Duiker) River, iNgungumbane (Porcupine) Stream, Ronald’s Kloof Stream, Nkonka (Male Bushbuck) Stream, Uve (Paradise Flycatcher) Stream and iNgolube (Bushpig) Stream.

Kloof has its own water purification plant and is therefore partly independent of the Umgeni Water system.

Water is pumped from the dam on the Molweni river at the Kloof Falls Picnic site up to the water treatment plant in Alamein Road.

As South Africa is a very water scarce country the importance of the health of all our rivers is increasing particularly as many are under severe threat.

Kloof Conservancy runs the Molweni River Health School Project to monitor the health of the catchment using the miniSass system.

- Kloof Conservancy.

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