Chapman's Peak

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Chapman's Peak, seen from Noordhoek
Chapman's Peak Drive leading down to Hout Bay
Chapman's Peak Drive heading south from Hout Bay
Chapman's Peak Drive. The pass is built on top of a layer of granite, cut into the softer sedimentary rocks above.
Rockfall shelters on Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman's Peak is the name of a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa. The western flank of the mountain falls sharply for hundreds of metres into the Atlantic Ocean, and a spectacular road, known as Chapman's Peak Drive, hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain, linking Hout Bay to Noordhoek.

Chapman's Peak Drive is part of the route of two of South Africa's biggest mass-participation races, the Cape Argus Cycle Race and the Two Oceans Marathon.

History[edit]

Chapman's Peak is named after John Chapman, the pilot of an English ship becalmed in today's Hout Bay in 1607. The skipper sent his pilot ashore to find provisions, and the name was recorded as Chapman's Chaunce.[1]

Chapman's Peak Drive was hacked out of the face of the mountain between 1915 and 1922, and at the time was regarded as a major feat of engineering. The road was closed in the 1990s, after a rockfall caused a death and a subsequent lawsuit,[2] and subsequently reopened after being re-engineered to protect motorists from falling rocks. It was reopened in 2005 as a toll road. The road was again closed for a number of months beginning on 19 June 2008 "as a result of risk areas identified on the mountain above the road".[3]

Geology[edit]

The top of Chapman's Peak consists of flat, sedimentary rocks related to those that form Table Mountain. The base of the mountain, however, consists of Cape Granite and the two formations meet at a geological unconformity that is world-famous amongst earth scientists.
Two different endangered vegetation types can be found along this road, and correspond to the two main geological formations. They are Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos and Cape Granite Fynbos and they are both endemic to the city of Cape Town, occurring nowhere else.[4][5]

There is an old, abandoned manganese mine on the northwestern slopes of the peak. The remains of a jetty from which the ore used to be shipped is directly below the workings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History of Chapman’s Peak Drive". chapmanspeakdrive.co.za. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "The BTA Chapman's Peak Fund". Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  3. ^ Chapman's Peak Drive 
  4. ^ "Cape Granite Fynbos. Cape Town Biodiversity Factsheets" (PDF). Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos. Cape Town Biodiversity Factsheets" (PDF). Retrieved 3 August 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°5′14″S 18°21′38″E / 34.08722°S 18.36056°E / -34.08722; 18.36056