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Caledon River facts for kids

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Caledon River is located in South Africa
Caledon River
Location of the Caledon River mouth
Country Lesotho, South Africa
State Free State
City Maputsoe
City Maseru
Physical characteristics
Main source Mont-aux-Sources
SW of Phuthaditjhaba, Drakensberg
2,100 m (6,900 ft)
River mouth Orange River
Near Bethulie
1,267 m (4,157 ft)
30°31′21″S 26°4′21″E / 30.52250°S 26.07250°E / -30.52250; 26.07250
Length 480 km (300 mi)

The Caledon River is a major river located in central South Africa, rising in the Drakensberg Mountains on the Lesotho border, flowing southwestward and then westward before joining the Orange River near Bethulie in the southern Free State.


The origin of the River Caledon is in the former bantustan of QwaQwa, near the border with Lesotho, southwest of Witsieshoek. It then flows south-west bordering Lesotho's capital city, Maseru. It forms the border between South Africa and Lesotho before entering South Africa's Free State province (north of Wepener). It then flows westward before joining the Orange River near Bethulie in southern Free State, just before flowing into the Gariep Dam. Its total length is about 300 mi (480 km), and its valley experiences great temperature swings. The land in the wedge between these two rivers forms the 22,000-ha Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve.


The river is the primary source of water for Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, which stands on the river. During periods of low rainfall, water shortages can ensue. To combat this, several reservoirs have been created with structures such as the Muela Dam and the Meulspruit Dam. In 2003, water was released from here to avert drought.

The Caledon Valley is important in the history of the Basotho people. The area was exceptionally fertile and could be farmed without irrigation. This made it desirable and was one of the causes of the conflict between the Basotho and the Boers. Maize is grown on a large scale in the Caledon Valley.

Dams in South Africa

  • Armenia Dam, on the tributary Leeu River
  • Egmont Dam, on the tributary Witspruit River
  • Knellpoort Dam, on the tributary Riet Spruit
  • Koppieskraal Dam
  • Meulspruit Dam
  • Moperri Dam
  • Welbedacht Dam, a major water source for Bloemfontein and surroundings, situated inside the Caledon Nature Reserve

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Río Caledon para niños

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