Hottentots Holland Mountains
|This article does not cite any references (sources). (July 2011)|
|Hottentots Holland Mountains|
Hottentots Holland Mountains and Sir Lowry's Pass
|Elevation||1,590 m (5,220 ft)|
The Hottentots Holland Mountains are part of the Cape Fold Belt in the Western Cape, South Africa. The mountain range forms a barrier between the Cape Town metropolitan area and the southern Overberg coast.
The range is primarily composed of Table Mountain Sandstone, and forms a large range between the Cape Town outlying suburbs of Somerset West and Gordon's Bay to the west, and the large Elgin valley to the east. Sir Lowry's Pass is the only crossing, in the form of the N2 motorway. The Steenbras Dam, one of Cape Town's main supply dams, is located in the southern section of the range. This is due to the abundant rainfall experienced in the uplands, located in the Elgin Valley around the town of Grabouw on the eastern slopes.
At the start of the Great Trek in 1835 when migrants decided to leave the Cape Town area, or Cape Colony as it was then known, the first mountain range they crossed was this range. Cuts and wheel markings from their ox wagons can still be seen in rock formations in the vicinity of Sir Lowry's Pass on this mountain range. This route still serves as the primary route out of the Cape Town area for travellers heading up the east coast of South Africa.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, however it is generally much cooler and more verdant than other areas in the Western Cape, with annual precipitation exceeding 1500 mm and summertime maxima rarely exceeding 25 °C. Snow is not unusual on the higher peaks, like Verkykerkop, Somerset Sneeukop (Afrikaans: Snow Peak) at 1590 m high and The Triplets in the northern section of the range. This area and the other ranges to the south are considered the hub of the Cape floristic region with the most biodiversity in the entire fynbos biome. The surrounding lowlands have rich alluvial soils supporting viticulture and other deciduous fruit farms.