|At a Glance|
|Location||Krantzkloof Nature Reserve|
The Molweni River is a perennial river which has its source in Springside Nature Reserve in Hillcrest it then runs through residential suburbs before entering the Everton Gorge. There are also some smaller source tributaries one starting near Camp Orchards on Inanda Road.
The Molweni flows through Everton Gorge and crosses Kloof Falls Road near the Interpretative Centre where it is dammed at the Kloof Falls Picnic Site.
After leaving the Kloof Falls Picnic Site the Molweni falls into the main Kloof Gorge at the popular Kloof Falls which are the highest falls on the river.
At the bottom of the gorge it flows along a granite base and exits the Nature Reserve about 500m after Splash Rock. From the reserve fence the river then flows for along a fertile plain in Lower Molweni where it joins the Umgeni River near a spot called Marble Arches.
The total distance of the river is approximately 16km
The Molweni River is generally a low volume river but can become a raging river as a result of the relatively steep hillsides in the area which result in rapid run-offs, This is aggravated as most of the stormwater drains in the entire Upper Highway area drain into its catchment.
It starts at an elevation of 650 m above sea level in Hillcrest and drops to an elevation of 60m where it joins the Umgeni.
Because of the relatively low flow the river is generally low if aquatic life although some species of fish are occasionally found.
The water is generally safe to swim in but it is not recommended that anyone should enter the water if they have any cuts or wounds.
It is believed that the derivation of the name “Molweni” is a from the Xhosa meaning “greeting”
The Molweni River is a perennial river and has 8 tributaries the largest of which is the Nkutu River which combines with the Molweni River in Lower Molweni.
Other perennial rivers and streams are: Iphithi (Duiker) River, iNgungumbane (Porcupine) Stream, Ronald’s Kloof Stream, Nkonka (Male Bushbuck) Stream, Uve (Paradise Flycatcher) Stream and iNgolube (Bushpig) Stream.
There are 8 major reasonably accessible waterfalls.
Kloof has its own water purification plant and is therefore partly independent of the Umgeni Water system. Water is pumped from the dam on the Molweni river at the Kloof Falls Picnic site up to the water treatment plant on Alamein Road.
As South Africa is a very water scarce country the importance of the health of all our rivers is increasing particularly as many are under severe threat. Kloof Conservancy runs the Molweni River Health School Project to monitor the health of the river using the miniSASS system.
The Krantzkloof Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1950 and land donations to date have brought the area under protection to 584 hectares. The reserve has the highest level of “protection” as a Protected Area in terms of the NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: PROTECTED AREAS ACT, 2003. The Act delegates the authority to manage and administer the reserve to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The status of the reserve can only be changed by an act of Parliament.
The reserve is managed by a Conservation Officer based at the main camp on Kloof Falls Road. There are two Field Ranger Outposts, one at the Nkutu Picnic Site (on Valley Road) and the other at Ntombeni (on Quentyn Smythe Road)
The reserve contains a wealth of biodiversity making it a critically important reserve in a heavily urbanised area.
The reserve is home to:
50 – Mammal species (including) 13 bat species.
14 – Amphibian species
150 – Butterfly species
35 – Reptile species
253 – Bird species
273 – Tree species