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Maguga Dam Swaziland Eswatini

Manzini, Swaziland

A 25km diversion along the Mbabane/Pigg’s Peak Route.

With a capacity of 332 million cubic metres of water and a wall 115metres tall, Maguga is the highest dam in the region. Since it was opened by his Majesty King Mswati III in 2002, a diversity of tourism attractions have been developed in this unique and truly beautiful part of rural Swaziland. Travelling in a northerly direction provides the most spectacular views of the area and over the dam. About 24km along the Mbabane/Pigg’s Peak road is a clearly market turning to Maguga Lodge on the right. About 4km along the winding main road the vista shortly opens up to reveal the first sight of Maguga Dam. Maguga Lodge on the left provides second-to-none views of the dam. This is a perfect stopover in the area and even if not staying the right, it is well worth stopping at the lodge for refreshments or a meal at the lodge while enjoying the stunning vista from the rustic verandah. About one km further on is the Maguga View Site Restaurant with spectacular views over the spillway and later, on the left community run Maguga Dam Viewsite. Shortly after the view site is the T-junction that meets the main Mbabane/Pigg’s Peak road.

Maguga Dam Swaziland Eswatini is the biggest of the 9 dams!

For many visitors Maguga Dam is just a scenic pit-stop between Mbabane and the Kruger Park. In this respect, the Maguga Lodge restaurant is beautifully located. Seated on southern shore, its terrace overlooking the glittering waters. With more time, you can enjoy hikes to local bushman paintings and waterfalls, bird-watching and mountain biking.

Planning and purpose[edit]

In 1992, the eSwatini and South Africa signed a treaty covering the "design, construction, operation and maintenance" of the Driekoppies and Maguga Dams.[3] As the former benefited South Africa exclusively (though the resulting reservoir lay partially in Eswatini), South Africa bore the entire cost for that dam.[3] As for the latter, Eswatini was responsible for about 40% of the cost.[3] The dam's primary purpose is irrigation (for water-intensive sugar cane, forestry and "about 1000 of Eswatini's small farmers"[6]) but a hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 20 MW (generated from two units, each with a capacity of 9.9 MW[7]) was to be completed in October 2006.[1]


Maguga is a "clay-core rockfill embankment dam".[8] The dam embankment comprises approximately 800,000 cubic metres (28,000,000 cu ft) of clay, 2,800,000 cubic metres (99,000,000 cu ft) of granite rock and 43,000 cubic metres (1,500,000 cu ft) of filter material.[9] It has an overall height of 115 metres (377 ft), a crest length of 870 metres (2,850 ft) and a base width of 400 metres (1,300 ft).[9] It has a capacity of 332,000,000 cubic metres (1.17×1010 cu ft) and a surface area of 10,420,000 cubic metres (368,000,000 cu ft).[5] It has been designed to withstand a probable maximum flood of 15,000 cubic metres per second (530,000 cu ft/s).[8] There is a 181-metre (594 ft)-long labyrinth spillway.[8]

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