The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Letaba River, Kruger National Park

Afrikaans name: Letaba Rivier

View from the H1-6 bridge

View from the H1-6 bridge over the Letaba River in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert


The Letaba River is one of the main rivers in Kruger National Park. The Letaba River begins just outside the park where the Klein and Groot Letaba Rivers join ("klein" means small, "groot" means big). The river flows from west to east across the central region before joining with the Olfiants River just before the border with Mozambique.

In the park there are two dams that have been constructed on the river. The first is the Mingerhout Dam, which can be viewed from the S47 gravel road, and the Engelhard Dam which is just downstream from Letaba Camp.

The river gets its name from the Northern Sotho word for "sandy river". This is entirely apt as the river rarely covers it wide sandy river bed.

The Letaba River attracts a lot of wildlife and it is always well worth travelling down the loop road that offer views across the river or dams. One may get to see Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Waterbuck, Hippo, Chacma Baboon, Impala and much more.

Wide riverbed

The wide river bed is not normally covered by the river

Photo © Steven Herbert

Hippos graze near the river

Hippos graze on the banks of the Letaba River

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading


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