Hydroelectric Power Plants in Southern Africa

Location: South Africa
Operator: Eskom
Configuration: 4 X 90 MW Francis
Operation: 1971-1976
T/G supplier: Fuji, Toshiba
Quick facts: The village built in 1960 to house dam workers has now become a holiday resort. The Gariep Dam and 90km reservoir, about 200km south of Bloemfontein on the Orange River, is now a major regional tourist attraction. The Gariep Dam Nature reserve is home to many species of antelope and the Cape zebra.

Photograph courtesy of Eskom
Posted 7 Mar 2001

Kariba Dam
Location: Zambia/Zimbabwe
Operator: Kariba North Bank Co Ltd (K North), Zimbabwe Electric Supply Co (K South)
Configuration: 4 X 150 MW Francis (Kariba North), 6 X 111 MW Francis (Kariba South)
Operation: 1959-1974
T/G supplier: Voest, Boving, MV, Koncar
EPC: Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, Mitchell Construction
Quick facts:
This dam is downstream of the Victoria Falls and upstream of Cahora Bassa Dam. Approximately 25% of all of the water flowing into Lake Kariba is lost to evaporation.

Photograph by A R Turton and courtesy of AWIRU
Posted 5 Dec 2004

Katse Dam
Location: Lesotho
Operator: Lesotho Highlands Development Auth
Configuration: 2 X 500 kW
Operation: 1997
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts:
The Katse Dam is the highest in Africa. The dam is a double curvature concrete arch, 185m high, and 710m along the crest.  The two minihydro sets suffice to power dam operations.

Photograph by A R Turton and courtesy of AWIRU
Posted 5 Dec 2004


Maguga Dam
Location: Swaziland
Operator: Komati Basin Water Authority
Configuration: 2 X 10 MW Francis
Operation: 2007
T/G supplier: Alstom
EPC: Ninham Shand, Keeve Steyn, VKE Engineers, SRK Consultants, ZMCK, Kagga & Partners, M&E Consultants, LTA, Group 5, Grinaker, WBHO, Swaziland Contractors Association
Quick facts: Kobwa is a bi-national company formed in 1993 through the treaty on the Development and Utilization of the Water Resources of the Komati River Basin signed in 1992 between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa. Phase 1B of Kobwa’s initial development was Maguga Dam. The clay core, rock-fill dam is 12km south of Pigg's Peak and has a total height of 115m, making it the fifth highest dam in Southern Africa. A 460m outlet tunnel is equipped with twin 2000mm diameter steel penstocks. Power generation is dependant on irrigation requirements and therefore varies widely. Since high floods can occur on the Komati River at Maguga, a very large spillway was constructed.

Photograph by nyinyu (Panoramio)
Posted 26 Dec 2008

Location: Madagascar
Operator: Jiro sy Rano Malagasy
Configuration: 4 X 6 MW Pelton
Operation: 1958-1972
T/G supplier: Vevey, Althom-Jeumont, BBC
Quick facts: The Mandraka site is 70km from Antananarivo, on the road to Toamasina. Each group is equipped with two runners on the same turbine shaft, with two injectors per runner. In Nov 2003, VA TECH Hydro in France was awarded a contract to rehabilitate the plant. The scope included four new runners, two new turbine shafts, four new oil tanks with accumulators, two new speed governors, the rehabilitation of mechanical components as well as an electrical assembly comprising transformers, plus switchgear and electrical equipment supplied by CEGELEC. Funding is from the EIB.

Photograph courtesy of Dilag-Tours
Posted 15 Feb 2008

Location: Madagascar
Operator: Hydelec Madagascar SA
Configuration: 3 X 5 MW Pelton
Operation: 2008
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: When commissioned In Oct 2008, this was Madagascar’s first such plant of any size in 30yrs. Prime Minister Charles Rabemananjara presided at the opening ceremony. The €15mn plant was financed by Banque Africaine de Developpement, BFV-Societe Generale, and Mauritius Commercial Bank. MIGA also issued a 15yr guarantee of $19.89mn to Energy Engineering Investment covering its equity investment in and shareholder loans to Hydelec. The project was implemented under a 30yr concession agreement and Hydelec has a 10yr power purchase agreement with Jirama. Annual production will be about 70 GWh and the expected generation cost is 4.8 cents/kWh. The turbines operate with a head of 243m and the plant is connected via a 63kV line running about 30km north to Jirama’s substation at Antsirabe. Hydelec is seeking CDM status for the Sahanivotry project.

Photograph courtesy of Hydelec Madagascar
Posted 15 Feb 2008

Vanderkloof Dam
Location: South Africa
Operator: Eskom
Configuration: 2 X 120 MW Francis
Operation: 1977
T/G supplier: Hitachi, Toshiba
Quick facts: Originally called the P K le Roux Dam. The dam is 130km downstream of Gariep and forms the second largest reservoir in South Africa. The composite gravity arch dam is 107m high and 765m long.  Construction was deferred in 1967 and re-tendered in 1970. Costs were much higher than expected so DWAF was directed to undertake construction with design by a consortium of local and overseas companies. Construction started in Apr 1971 and the project was commissioned in Sep 1977.

Photograph by R McKenzie and courtesy of Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Posted 19 Mar 2006

Abbreviations: DWAF = Dept of Water Affairs and Forestry, MV = Metropolitan Vickers , T/G = turbine generator

Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 05/16/09