The Orange River forms the natural border between Namibia and South Africa, and, with a length of 2200km, it is South Africas largest river that constitutes over 14% of all run-off water in that country. Had the entire 973,000 km² catchment area been situated in South Africa alone, it would have constituted an amazing 77% of the entire country. Approximately 366,000 km² (38%), however, is situated outside the country in Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia. The Orange River begins its journey in the catchment area of the Drakensberg mountain range (between Johannesburg and Durban), meanders 2200 kilometers through South Africa from east to west, and eventually empties out into the Atlantic Ocean to form one of the most important wetland areas in Africa at the Orange River mouth. The Khoi Khoi and the San Bushmen were the earliest pre-colonial inhabitants along the river and referred to it as “Gariep”. This River also gave Namibia the pre-colonial name “Groot (great) Gariep”. The word gariep originates from the Khoi name of !gari-b, meaning the “River of the wilderness”, or “great river”. The first colonial name was given to the river as early as 1506, probably by Portuguese mariners, who called it “Vigiti Magna”. The river received its current name, Orange, by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the Dutch East India Company garrison at Cape Town, on a trip to the interior in 1779. Gordon named the river in honor of William V of Orange. A popular but incorrect belief is that the river was named after the supposedly orange color of its water, as opposed to the color its tributary, the Vaal River ('vaal' being Afrikaans for pale or grey). During flood, the water does however turn quite Orange when it washes with it the rich iron-oxide particles from the mountainous river banks. Since the end of apartheid, the name "Gariep" has had greater favour in official correspondence in South Africa, although the name "Orange" has greater international recognition. The first indication of the vast mineral wealth of South Africa was the diamond picked up in 1867 by the Jacobs children south of the Orange River, close to where Hopetown stands today. The word soon spread and by 1870 more than 10 000 diggers of all race, creed and nations were busily engaged along the banks of the Vaal River searching for the precious little stones. But the wealth in the river was as nothing compared to the treasure underground. The diamonds found on the farm of the brothers De Beer proved to be the tip of a diamond iceberg that eventually became the Kimberley ‘Big Hole’. To whom did these diamonds belong? The answer at first seemed obvious. The De Beers were Free Staters and the diamond fields, a mere 160 kilometres from Bloemfontein, lay between the rivers that formed the natural boundaries of the Free State. Great Britain and its Cape Colony had no presence and no claim in their own right. British interests therefore concealed themselves behind the somewhat dubious claims of Nicolaas Waterboer, the chief of Griquatown many kilometres away. The charade was fronted by a clever lawyer named David Arnot, himself almost a Griqua.