A Guide to the Mountain Ranges of South Africa
amaTombo (The Bald Heads). Part of a superb range of granite domes stretching for 75 km along the south western part of Zimbabwi. This range guarded the southern approaches to the stronghold of the MaTebele tribe.
Cedarberg Range. The land of a Thousand Faces. The whole range, 125km long and 2150 m at the highest point is a proclaimed wilderness area. It stands like a wall over the valley of the Olifants River Situated in the western part of the Cape Province near Citrusdal.
Chapmans Peak. Part of the Cape of Good Hope mountains, stretching from Table Mountain down to Cape Point.
Chimanimani Situated in Zimbabwi's eastern highlands has cool, wet conditions that make it a paradise for flowering plants. The name means 'Squeezed Together'.
Damara Systerm. A range of several mountains in Damaraland, Namibia. This is where gemstones take the place of flowers.
Devil's Peak. Alongside Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town and the southern suburbs.
Drakensberg. The 'Roof of Africa' and the 'Mother of Rivers'. A huge range of mountains stretching from the Orange Free State, between Losotho and Natal and on down to the northern Cape Province. The highest point is Ntaba Ntlenyane (nice little mountain) and reaches a height of 3483 m. There are too many summits in this range to list them all but here are a few: The Bell, Cathedral Peak, Cathkin Peak, The Column, Giant's Castle, Hodgson's Peak, Inner Horn, Monk's Cowl, Mont-aux-Source, Njerere, Outer Horn, The Pyramid, Rhino Horn, Sentinel and a few others with mostly Zulu names.
Ghost Mountain. A is a sharp pointed peak, only 528m in height. Situated in the Lubombo range bordering Mocambique, Swaziland and Natal. Known to the Africans as 'the place of the small stone'. Steeped in African history is still tabu to all but the hereditary whichdoctors of the Ndwandwe people.
Gifberg (Poison Mountain). In the heart of Namaqualand. Chincherichee flowers flourish on the summit. They are poisonous and can be fatal to livestock.
Hottentots Holland. In the western Cape, nature created one of the most distinctive and beautiful of all African landscapes. In the heart of this great garden lies this range that is only 40km long but is without compare in the whole wide world as a home of flowering plants. From the peaks to the depths of it's valleys it is all flowers, over 16,000 species.
Kerkenberg. (Church Mountain) North from the Drakensberg range and near Qwa-Qwa in Natal this flat top mountain, was part of Voortrekker history, when, in 1837, Pieter Retief led his people to Port Natal. Over 1000 wagons started their descent into Natal. Many perished when confronted by the Zulu army.
Kranskop. (iTshe lika Ntunjambili (the rock with two openings)). Between Zululand and Natal, this mountain overlooks the famous Thukela river. The almost inaccessible summit is 1232 m high. The area is also rich in Zulu history.
Lion's Head The other companion to Table Mountain together with Devil's Peak makes a backbone for the Cape Peninsula.
Lubombo (Ridge). The range running north and south between Swaziland and Tongaland, once marked the line of the coast. With the elevation of the sea bed together with the heavy rainfall soon simulated the growth of vegitation on this sand. In a long belt 40 km wide, a handsome forest grew, with over 200 different species of trees.
Maluti Mountains. Runs along the western side of the Drakensberg. Below the 2000 m contour natural erosion has carved a complex of valleys and plains, littered with rock fragments. Through this rock wilderness the Caledon River makes its way to the Orange.
Matroosburg. Named after a shepherd, Klaas Matroos (Klaas the Sailor). The highest point of the Hex River Mountains it soars to 2,500 m.
Murchison Range. Eastern Transvaal. Named after a British geologist, Sir Roderick Murchison. The area is extremely rich in antimony. It also produces gold and many other minerals and metals.
Murosi's Mountain. At the southern border of Lesotho and the Cape it overlooks the Orange River. It is a grim, sullen looking stronghold, named after the prince of rustlers. He was the chief of the Phuthi people and used the mountain as a real robbers roost.
Outeniqua Range. Separating the coastal region of George and Knysna from the Karoo. It's slopes are a home for a large variety of trees and plants that hasn't changed for hundreds of years.
Riviersonderend (The River without End) In the southern Cape forms a beautiful background to the vast fields of corn.
Rondawels Mountains of Eternal Mist. These three majestic Rondawels date back to the forgotten ages of the earth's beginning. In the northern Transvaal overlooking the Blyde River.
Seven Weeks Poort Mountain. The highest peak of the Swartberg range is 2325 m high. It took seven weeks for early exploratory party to penetrate its inner recesses.
Simonsberg. Named after the renowned Cape Governor, Simon van der Stel, this most elegant mountain overlooks the beautiful town of Stellenbosch.
Soutpansberg (Salt-pan-Mountain) Some mountain springs in the northern Transvaal have such strong concentrations of minerals that it becomes undrinkable. The water is clear green and very cold. The water is pumped into evaporation pans where the remaining salt is collected.
Spandau Kop Land of the Giants Like a battalion of giants, the pinnacles of ancient rock formations rear above the valley of Desolation, near Graaff Reinet. In the centre is Spandau Kop.
Swaartberg (Black Mountain) Range. Between the Great and Little Karoo, is the most storied, and perhaps the loveliest of these sandstone mountains of the Cape System. Nearly 200 km long and reaching a height of 2325 m it is a gigantic wall-like barrier with four natural passes allowing road and railway to penetrate the wall of brilliantly coloured rock.
Table Mountain. Probably the best known of all South African mountains acts as a signpost to ships heading in to or around the Cape. The invisible sign say's 'Tavern of the Seas' where sailors could come ashore for fresh water, provisions and entertainment after a long sea voyage under sail.
Thaba Bositho.(The Mountain of the Night) This is the national stronghold of the Sotho people. It is revered by them as the saviour of their kind. Without it, they would have been totally annihilated. Behind it looms the long range of the Maluti Mountains.
Three Sisters. North of Beaufort West these three strangely, stool-similar shaped hillocks. Overlooking the old frontiers town of Colesberg it is a familiar sight to travelers on their way north from Cape Town.
Toorkop. (Bewitched Peak). Part of the Swartberg Range it remains today divided into eastern and western pinicles. The highest dome is 2400 m high. This mountain is a very difficult one to climb.
Tooverberg. (Magic Mountain) Situated in the western Cape, north of Colesberg. This stool-shaped mass of sediment reaches a height of 1907 m. At its foot lies a celebrated watering once frequented by huge herds of game animals.