Runs: 1750 kilometres | Province: Limpopo
Perhaps no man has given a more pertinent description of this quasi mighty watercourse than famed author Rudyard Kipling, who described it in his short story The Elephant’s Child, as “the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees, where the bi-coloured python rock-snake dwells.”
We wonder what Mr Kipling would have said had he been present when a Zambezi shark (carcharhinus leucas) was caught hundreds of kilometres upriver at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers one afternoon in July 1950. In 2013, approximately 15 000 crocodiles were released into this river from flood gates at the nearby Rakwena Crocodile Farm.
In its stupendous 1 750 kilometre distance, the Limpopo River flows in a magnificent arc, first zigzagging north and then northeast, then turning east and finally southeast. It serves as a border for about 640 kilometres, separating South Africa to the southeast from Botswana to the northwest and Zimbabwe to the north. In the north-eastern corner of South Africa, the river borders the Kruger National Park. The term Limpopo is the modified version of the original SePedi name ‘diphororo tsa meetse’, meaning ‘gushing waterfalls’.