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The spatial extent of the area includes tertiary drainage regions B11, B12, B20, B31, B32, B41, B42, B52, B52, B60, B71, B72 and B73 in the Olifants River catchment; B81, B82 and B83 in the Letaba catchment; and B90 in the Shingwedzi catchment. The headwaters of the study area are located along the Highveld Ridge in the Secunda-Bethal area, which is the divide between the Vaal and the Olifants River systems.

The Olifants River flows northwards through Witbank Dam down to Loskop Dam. The confluences of the Klein Olifants, Spookspruit, Klipspruit and Wilge Rivers with the Olifants River are between Witbank and Loskop Dams. The Olifants River flows from Loskop Dam some 80 km to Flag Boshielo Dam. The Moses and Elands Rivers join the Olifants River downstream of Loskop Dam from the west while the Bloed River joins from the east. The Steelpoort River confluences with the Olifants about 50 kilometres before the confluence of the Olifants and Blyde rivers, after which it confluences with Ga-Selati River on the border of the Kruger National Park.

The Letaba River joins the Olifants River upstream of the border into Mozambique, thereafter the Olifants joins the Limpopo River before discharging into the Indian Ocean. The Shingwidzi River flows through the Kruger National Park becoming the Rio Shingwidzi in Mozambique.

For the purpose of the study the Olifants catchment has been divided into six sub catchments:

  • Upper Olifants catchment: Constitutes the catchment of the Olifants River down to Loskop Dam;
  • Middle Olifants catchment: comprise the catchment of the Olifants River downstream from the Loskop Dam to the confluence with Steelpoort River;
  • Steelpoort catchment: correspond to drainage region of the Steelpoort River;
  • Lower Olifants catchment: represents the catchment of the Olifants River between the Steelpoort confluence and the Mozambique border
  • Letaba catchment: constitutes the drainage region Klein Letaba, Groot Letaba and Letaba River;
  • Shingwedzi catchment: correspond to the drainage region of the Shingwedzi catchment


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