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Mountains of Cape Fold Belt in South Africa’s Western Cape Region

33.9S 18.4E

May 16th, 2012 Category: Mountains, Rivers

South Africa - May 15th, 2012

Visible near the bottom of this image is the Western Cape region of South Africa, an area with great topographical diversity. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains. The far interior forms part of the Karoo Basin and is generally arid and hilly with a sharp escarpment in the north. Coastal areas range from sandy between capes, to rocky to steep and mountainous in places. Located by the coast in the lower left quadrant are Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope.

Moving northwards, visible crossing the upper part of the image is the Orange River, appearing as a thick green line, despite what its name might suggest. Some sediments can be seen entering the Atlantic Ocean by the river’s mouth. The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Visible near the coast in Namibia, north of the river, is the southern part of the Namib Desert.

Orange River and Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

34.3S 18.4E

March 9th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Namibia - March 5th, 2012

The Orange River can be seen crossing the upper part of this image of South Africa, more or less parallel to the top edge. Despite its name, the river is most visible in the upper right quadrant as a thick green line.

The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. In the full image, a small amount of sediments can be seen entering the Atlantic by the rivermouth. 

Visible in the lower part of the image are Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope, in the Western Cape region of South Africa.  The Western Cape is exceptionally topographically diverse. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains. The far interior forms part of the Karoo Basin and is generally arid and hilly with a sharp escarpment in the north. Coastal areas range from sandy between capes, to rocky to steep and mountainous in places.

Mountains by Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, South Africa

33.6S 19.4E

March 18th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Mountains

South Africa - March 5th, 2010

South Africa - March 5th, 2010

The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, lower left quadrant, lies in the Hottentots Holland mountains, some 90km south east of Cape Town. The 42000 ha reserve stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch Mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland Mountains.

The terrain is rugged and very mountainous, with altitudes ranging from 500m to 1590m. The annual rainfall may be as high as 3300mm on the Dwarsberg Plateau and the winds are frequent and strong. Summers are generally mild and dry. Weather conditions in the mountains can be unpredictable and dangerous.

The reserve is important for the conservation of mountain fynbos with approximately 1300 species occurring here, including several rare and endemic plants.

Visible towards the northwest of the reserve is a large reservoir created by two dams: Greater Brandvlei Dam and the Kwaggaskloof Dam. The former is located on the Breede River, while the latter is situated on the Wabooms River. Both are near Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa.

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