Vaal River

Sunrise over the Vaal at Parys

The Vaal at Villiers

The Vaal is a river in South Africa. It was named by the Boers in remembrance of the Waal, the most water-rich branch of the Rhine in the delta in the distant homeland Netherlands. The name derives from the Old-Highdutch. falo, " pale, pallid " her and is related to the Latin word pallidus " pale " or engl. pale, " pale ".

The Vaal rises in the northeast part of the country in the province of Mpumalanga, close to Swaziland. It flows 1251 km to the southwest until it empties into the Orange River in the center of the country. It flows through a fertile country, in places he marks the boundary between the provinces of Mpumalanga and Free State.

He is farmed intensively for irrigation. So there is south-east of Vereeniging ( about 60 km south of Johannesburg) the Vaal Dam, one of the largest in the country, which serves as a water reservoir.

Further downstream of the Vaal is dammed again. In Bloemhof Bloemhof Dam is the. This also forms the core of the reserve Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve.

At the confluence with the Harts rivers near the town of Warrenton, there is the smaller Vaalharts Dam. 1933 was realized already in 1881 planned by Cecil Rhodes " Vaal - Harts irrigation system ". It is the largest water storage and supply system of the southern hemisphere.

Historical Significance

Although the area of the Transvaal was already occupied by the British in 1848 for the first time, succeeded in Boer settlers in the wake of the great trek across the Vaal to establish independent Boer republics. 1852 saw the British, the Boer supremacy beyond the Vaal in the so-called Sand River Convention of 17 January 1852. As a result, emerged under the leadership of Andries Pretorius Voortrekkers the independent Republic of Transvaal. Between the Vaal and Orange was also a second independent republic in 1854 ( Orange Free State). Both republics were ultimately up to the Boer War stock, 1910, they were the Union of South Africa incorporated.