The Drakenstein Mountains are part of the Cape Fold Belt and are in the Western Cape province of South Africa; they were named in honour of H.A. van Reede tot Drakenstein who visited the Cape as Commissioner-General in 1685; Drakenstein (modern spelling usually Drakestein) was the name of his estate in the Netherlands. They actually comprise two separate ranges, the Klein Drakenstein and Groot Drakenstein Mountains. The former located just to the east of Paarl being punctuated by the Huguenot Tunnel on the N1 highway and Du Toitskloof Pass (820m) as the R101 route. The latter is much taller and is located south of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, with Victoria Peak (1590m) as its highest point. It is traversed by no mountain passes, but contains the Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve and also holds title of the wettest place in South Africa in the upper reaches of the Jonkershoek Valley, with over 2000mm of precipitation per annum (precise measurement unverified).
Most vegetation is of the Cape Floristic Kingdom biome, and the primary rocks are of the Table Mountain Sandstone group of the Cape Supergroup. The region falls within the Mediterranean climatic zone, with cool, wet winters, with snow on the higher elevations and warm, dry summers.
- DSAB I, 831.
- Cf. Internet entries.
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