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The Tugela | A river of surprises

The Tugela River lies in 10th place on the list of the longest rivers in South Africa. It is also the biggest in KwaZulu-Natal, where it’s called the uThukela in Zulu. Let’s follow the waters all the way from its source to its mouth.

The route starts at Mont-aux-Sources – French for “mountain of fountains”– in the Royal Natal National Park. During the rainy season, the Tugela Falls, the highest in the world, crashes down the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and several streams coalesce at the foot of the dramatic cliff.

At the car park (S28.70953 E28.94022), from where you watch the scene, the Tugela River is still young, barely five metres wide and only ankle deep, with its water crystal clear. About 500 km east, however, where the Tugela empties into the Indian Ocean, it looks entirely different.

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