South Africa (Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State, North West, Northern Cape)
The Vaal River is a northern tributary of the Orange River. Rising at Sterkfontein Beacon near Breyten, in Mpumalanga province, it flows 1 210 km southwest to its confluence with the Orange near Douglas; the Vaal’s middle section forms most of the Free State’s northern provincial boundary.
It is basically a plateau river and occupies a shallow bed. Most of the year its flow is minimal, but the winter months can create the muddy torrent for which the Vaal (“Gray-brown”) is named. The river’s flow is regulated by the Vaal Dam, 23 miles (37 km) upstream of Vereeniging, where water is diverted into the Hartz Valley irrigation scheme. The river’s major tributaries – the Klip, Wilge, Vals, Vet, and Riet rivers – enter on its left bank. The Vaal is fully developed economically, its waters used for the domestic and industrial needs of the Witwatersrand. The small village of Deneysville was used as a stop-over point by the old BOAC flying boats.
Location (26° 53′ 41″ S, 28° 8′ 44″ E)
The Vaal Dam lies on the Vaal River, 77 km south of Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo International Airport. The lake behind the dam wall has a surface area of about 300 km² and is 47 meters deep. It has over 800 km of shoreline and is South Africa’s biggest dam by area and the third largest by volume.
View Vaal River in a larger map