Karkloof Falls

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Karkloof Falls
Karkloof Falls. / Chris Bloom, / CC BY-SA 2.0
Most tourists know about the nearby Howick Falls but even more impressive are the Karkloof Falls.

It is not quite clear how high are Karkloof Falls – some sources mention 88 meters but some – 105 meters and many – something in between.

Nevertheless, this is a true, grand waterfall The Karkloof stream here falls into a free fall until it hits a narrow ledge close to the base of the falls. During the winter falls become weaker but after a thunderstorm, in summer the waterfall becomes very impressive.

Falls have formed on the sandstone of Vryheid Formation (the Permian period).

If compared to the nearby Howick Falls, Karkloof Falls seem to be taller, more spectacular and more pristine. And, the best: the stream is quite clean!

The name of the stream originates from Afrikaans and means “ravine of the cart”. According to a local story, a heavily laden cart overturned in this stream sometime around 1845. The cart stayed there for a long time and thus the stream (and waterfall) got its name.

Karkloof Falls in 1898
Karkloof Falls in 1898. / from “The Story of an African City”, page 50, / public domain

Early settlers in this area considered this to be the most beautiful waterfall “in the land”. This is quite an achievement: there are many beautiful waterfalls in the Midlands indeed!

Some 500 meters above is another waterfall in the river – the 9 – 10 m tall Woodhouse Falls.

References

  1. Gavin Whitfield, 50 Must-See Geological Sites. 2016. ASIN: B01AGLRH8K.

Karkloof Falls on the map

Travelers' Map is loading...
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Location, GPS coordinates: 29.4002 S 30.2788 E
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Where is located? Africa, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Midlands, some 15 km north from the Howick town, near Shafton Grange
Alternate names: KwaNogqaza (Zulu name, meaning: “Place of the Tall One”
Height: 88 – 105 m
Drops: 1
Stream: Karkloof River

Video of Karkloof Falls


Gerhard Britz, November 2017

Landmarks of South Africa

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Blyde River Canyon / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

South Africa is extremely rich with unusual archaeological and natural monuments. Highlights are the rich finds of rare minerals, unique ecosystems, finds of the first humans and some great waterfalls.

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

Geological Journeys: A traveller’s guide to South Africa’s rocks and landforms


How often have we wondered about the jaunty tilt of a mountain ahead, the unusual patterns of a road cutting, the colour and texture of the roadside soil, or the purpose of a distant minehead? This handy volume offers answers and explanations about features along all the major routes across South Africa, and some of the lesser, but geologically interesting, routes too.

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