Orange River

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Orange River,

chief river of S Africa, c.1,300 mi (2,090 km) long, rising in the Maluti Mts., N Lesotho. It flows SW through Lesotho, then meanders northwest and west through central South Africa, forming the SW boundary of Free State and part of the South Africa–Namibia line before entering the Atlantic Ocean at Oranjemund. The VaalVaal
, river, c.750 mi (1,210 km) long, rising in Mpumalanga, NE South Africa, and flowing SW to the Orange River. It forms most of the northern border of the Free State. The river's flow is almost totally regulated and provides water power for industries on the Witwatersrand.
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 River is its chief tributary. The lower Orange River flows through the southern part of the KalahariKalahari
, arid plateau region, c.100,000 sq mi (259,000 sq km), in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The Kalahari, covered largely by reddish sand, lies between the Orange and Zambezi rivers and is studded with dry lake beds. Yearly rainfall varies from 5 in. (12.
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 and NamibNamib
, desert, c.800 mi (1,290 km) long and from 30 to 100 mi (50–160 km) wide, SW Africa, along the coast of Namibia. It occupies a rocky platform between the Atlantic Ocean and the escarpment of the interior plateau.
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 deserts; in very dry years it does not reach the sea. At the mouth of the river are rich alluvial diamond beds. Shoals, falls (Aughrabies Falls is 400 ft/122 m high), irregular flow, and a sandbar at its mouth limit navigation, but the river is used extensively for irrigation. The South African Orange River Project, which includes the Gariep and Vanderkloof dams, provides water for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and municipal water supplies. Tunnels divert water to the Great Fish and Sundays rivers.