The Great Fish River, distinguishable from the Namibian Fish River by the word ‘great’, that runs through the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, flows for some 690 kilometres before reaching the Indian Ocean 60 kilometres southeast of Grahamstown. The Great Fish River has a length of 692 km and a drainage area of 30,800 square km. Its main Northern Tributary, the Great Brak River, rises in 2,100-metre- high Mountains 48 km South of the Orange River and Northeast of Middelburg. The Tarka River, coming from the Northeast, and the Baviaans and Kat Rivers farther South are the main Eastern Tributaries. The direction of the Great Fish River is mainly Southward; however, about halfway along its course it turns East and joins with the Koonap River before entering the Indian Ocean 60 km, South East of Grahamstown.
The Nguni peoples had settled as far South as the Great Fish River by 1500 CE. In the early 19th Century, the lower Great Fish valley formed a battle zone between mostly British Settlers moving East from the Cape and Tribal Settlements to the North East.
The run-off of the Great Fish River is small and erratic, but there is irrigation development along its course. An irrigation scheme to transfer water from the Orange River basin to the Great Fish River basin was implemented in 1980 with the construction of 82-km- long water tunnel—the world’s longest—from the Gariep Dam, (formerly Hendrik Verwoerd Dam).
It doesn’t flow through any notable towns, other than Cradock and Cookhouse, and its journey is relatively uneventful - the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, one of the only events on its course, though it does flow through the beautiful Great Fish River Reserve that lies between Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort. It is the mouth of the river that draws people, mostly because the last 20 kilometres of the river is tidal (the Great Fish Point lighthouse, built in 1898, stands just outside Port Alfred) and the area between Port Elizabeth and the Fish River forms the Sunshine Coast - called such because it has more sunshine hours per year than any other part of the country.

26° 58' 48", -33° 23' 31.2"