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The Pongola or Phongolo River (Afrikaans: Pongolarivier) is a river in South Africa. It is a tributary of the Maputo River. It rises near Utrecht in northern KwaZulu-Natal, flows east through Pongola, is dammed at Pongolapoort, and crosses the Ubombo Mountains; then it flows north towards Mozambique, joining the Maputo River. [2]

Pongola River
Pongola river, immediately below Pongolapoort Dam
Pongola River is located in South Africa
Pongola River
Location of the Pongola River mouth
EtymologyFrom the Zulu for 'trough-like', 'river of troughs', referring to long pools.[1]
CountrySouth Africa, Mozambique
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationNear Utrecht, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
MouthMaputo River
 ⁃ location
Maputo Province, Mozambique
 ⁃ coordinates
26°51′21″S 32°20′47″E / 26.85583°S 32.34639°E / -26.85583; 32.34639Coordinates: 26°51′21″S 32°20′47″E / 26.85583°S 32.34639°E / -26.85583; 32.34639
 ⁃ elevation
29 m (95 ft)

Its main tributaries are the Bivane River and the Mozana River in South Africa, as well as the Ngwavuma in Eswatini.[3]

The Pongola River winding through hills in and beyond the Ithala Game Reserve

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Raper, P. E. (1989). Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Jonathan Ball Publishers. p. 363. ISBN 978-0-947464-04-2 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ van Vuuren, Lani (May 2009), "Darlington Dam: Development Steeped in Controversy" (PDF), The Water Wheel, Gezina: South African Water Research Commission, 8 (3), pp. 23–27, ISSN 0258-2244, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19, retrieved 2010-04-10
  3. ^ "Usuthu/Mhlatuze WMA 6". Department of Water Affairs and Fisheries.