Tugela River, the largest River in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. It rises as a stream on the 3,050-metre high, Mont-aux-Sources Plateau near the merger point of the Lesotho–Free State Province borders. Its upper course, which lies within Royal Natal National Park, flows through the Drakensberg range before hurtling down in a series of Waterfalls having a total drop of, 948 Meters. The River then cuts through Tugela Gorge at the foot of the Escarpment, about 500 m above sea level. The River is quickly joined by many Tributaries and passes through the Ladysmith Basin, and below Colenso, becomes narrow and deep. At Jameson’s Drift it enters the wide, open Tugela Trough, at the Eastern end of which it cuts deeply through a great block of sandstone to issue onto the coastal Plain. After years of controversy the World Waterfall Database has recently concluded that Tugela Falls in the South African Drakensberg is indeed the highest waterfall in the world! This is when measured in OVERALL HEIGHT. (These 5 cascades of Tugela Falls; counted together is the highest Waterfall in the World, at 948m!)
For bird lovers the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is interesting. The nature protection Area of about 100 hectares lies on the Southern Banks of the Tugela River, almost 6 kilometres before the River Mouth. More than 200 Bird Species were registered here. And there live Zebras, Monkeys, Mon-geese and some Antelope Species.
The mouth of the Tugela is historically rather significant. Vasco da Gama named a Cape Close by, the Ponta da Pescaria, in December 1497, after the great many Fish they were able to catch in the Area. Today, the Tugela Mouth remains a popular Fishing Destination both on Shore and out at Sea. On the Shore you can always pull: 'Diamond Skate; Flat Fish and the odd Grunter and Cob', during Summer.
The Tugela Beach is wonderful. Just below a dramatic black and white striped Lighthouse, it stretches for miles and is generally not inundated with people. Swimming in Rock Pools, Sunbathing, Bird Watching, Turtle Spotting, majestic Whales during October and November, and lovely Areas along the River Bank for Mountain Biking and Hiking make the Area an excellent space in which to relax.
Once a Year the Tugela Mouth is Home to the Tugela Raft Race - a big attraction in the Area. Other attractions include a Fig tree known as the Ultimatum Tree, protected in the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, the Amatikulu Nature Reserve, Fort Dunford and Fort Tenedos - two Historic Forts built by the British during the Anglo-Zulu War, at least 10 golf courses within 100 km of the Mouth of the River, and three Casinos