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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.

Shoreline of South Africa’s Western Cape Province

January 4th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

South Africa - November 17th, 2009

South Africa - November 17th, 2009

The Western Cape Province, in southwestern South Africa, is bordered on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Its total land area is 129,370 km², about 10.6% of the country’s total. The province’s capital is Cape Town and other major cities include Stellenbosch, Worcester, Paarl, and George.

The Western Cape is exceptionally topographically diverse. Most of the province falls within the Cape Fold Belt, a range of sandstone folded mountains of Permian to Carboniferous age that range in height from 1000m to 2300m. The valleys between ranges are generally very fertile and contains alluvial loamy to clay soils.

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. The Western Cape is also the southernmost region of the African continent with Cape Agulhas as its southernmost point, at 3800km from the Antarctic coastline.