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The Drakensberg
Drakensberg
(Afrikaans: Drakensberge, isiZulu: uKhahlamba, SeSotho: Maluti) is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation in this region – 2,000 to 3,482 metres (6,562 to 11,424 feet). It is located in South Africa. The name by which it is now known is Drakens Mountain, or Mountain of the Dragons.

A map of South Africa
South Africa
showing the central plateau edged by the Great Escarpment and its relationship to the Cape Fold Mountains
Cape Fold Mountains
to the south. The portion of the Great Escarpment shown in red is known as the Drakensberg.

The Drakensberg
Drakensberg
escarpment stretches for over 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
Province in the South, then successively forms, in order from south to north, the border between Lesotho
Lesotho
and the Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
and the border between Lesotho
Lesotho
and KwaZulu-Natal Province. Thereafter it forms the border between KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
and the Free State, and next as the border between KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
and Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Province. It winds north, through Mpumalanga, where it includes features such as the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels
Three Rondavels
and God's Window. It moves north again above Tzaneen
Tzaneen
in Limpopo
Limpopo
Province, where it includes the Wolkberg
Wolkberg
Mountains
Mountains
and Iron Crown Mountain, at 2,200 m (7,200 ft) above sea level, the Wolkberg
Wolkberg
being the highest mountain range in Limpopo. It veers west again and at Mokopane it is known as the Strydpoort Mountains.[1][2]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Geological origins 3 Geomorphology

3.1 Appearance 3.2 Composition of rocks

4 Highest peaks 5 Mountain passes 6 Ecology

6.1 Flora 6.2 Fauna

6.2.1 Fauna of the high peaks 6.2.2 Fauna of the lower slopes

6.3 Conservation

7 Urban areas 8 San cave paintings 9 In popular culture 10 See also 11 References 12 External links

Etymology[edit] The Afrikaans
Afrikaans
name Drakensberge comes from the name the earliest Dutch settlers to the region gave it. They called them the Drakensbergen, or " Mountains
Mountains
of Dragons". Several possible reasons for this name include the pointy tops giving an appearance similar to that of the back of the mythical European dragon, old local myths of dragons roaming the mountains, and possible findings of dinosaur fossils (which would have been confused with the remains of dragons).[3] When most South Africans and visitors speak of the Drakensberg, they refer to the Great Escarpment that forms the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal, believing it to be a range of mountains extending into Lesotho, more correctly known as the Lesotho
Lesotho
Highlands. This highest portion of the Great Escarpment is known as uKhahlamba ("Barrier of up-pointed spears")[4] in Zulu and Maluti in Sotho. Geological origins[edit] About 180 million years ago, a mantle plume under southern Gondwana caused bulging of the continental crust in the area that would later become southern Africa.[5] Within 10–20 million years rift valleys formed on either side of the central bulge, which became flooded to become the proto-Atlantic and proto-Indian oceans.[5][6] The stepped steep walls of these rift valleys formed escarpments that surrounded the newly formed Southern African subcontinent.[5] With the widening of the Atlantic, Indian and Southern oceans, Southern Africa became tectonically quiescent. Earthquakes rarely occur, and there has been no volcanic or orogenic activity for about 50 million years.[7] An almost uninterrupted period of erosion has continued to the present, resulting in layers several kilometers thick having been lost from the surface of the plateau.[5] A thick layer of marine sediment was consequently deposited onto the continental shelf (the lower steps of the original rift valley walls) which surrounds the subcontinent.[6] During the past 20 million years, further massive upliftment, especially in the East, has taken place in Southern Africa. As a result, most of the plateau lies above 1,000 m (3,300 ft) despite the extensive erosion. The plateau is tilted such that its highest point is in the east, and it slopes gently downwards towards the west and south. The elevation of the edge of the eastern escarpments is typically in excess of 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It reaches its highest point (over 3,000 m (9,800 ft)) where the escarpment forms part of the international border between Lesotho and the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.[5][8] The upliftment of the central plateau over the past 20 million years and erosion resulted in the original escarpment being moved inland, creating the present-day coastal plain.[5][9][10] The position of the present escarpment is approximately 150 km inland from the original fault lines which formed the walls of the rift valley that developed along the coast during the break-up of Gondwana. The rate of the erosion of the escarpment in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
region is said to average 1.5 m (5 ft) per 1000 years, or 1.5 millimetres (1⁄16 in) per year.[10] Because of the extensive erosion of the plateau, which occurred over most of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras, none of its surface rocks (except the Kalahari sands) are younger than 180 million years.[5][11] The youngest rocks that remain cap the plateau in Lesotho. These are the Clarens Formation
Clarens Formation
laid down under desert conditions about 200 million years ago, topped by a 1,600 m (5,200 ft) thick layer of lava which erupted, and covered most of Southern Africa, and large parts of Gondwana, about 180 million years ago.[5][6][12] These rocks form the steep sides of the Great Escarpment in this region, where its upper edge reaches an elevation in excess of 3,000 m (9,800 ft). The erosional retreat of the escarpment from the coast to its present position, means that the rocks of the coastal plain are, with very few and small exceptions, older than those that cap the top of the escarpment. Thus the rocks of the Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Lowveld below the Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
portion of the Great Escarpment are more than 3000 million years old.[11] The rocks of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands belong, in the main, to the Beaufort and Ecca Groups (of the Karoo Supergroup), aged 220–310 million years, and are therefore considerably older than the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
lavas (aged 180 million years) which cap the escarpment on the border between KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
and Lesotho.[11] The entire eastern portion of the Great Escarpment (see the accompanying map) constitutes the Drakensberg.[8][13] The Drakensberg terminate in the north near Tzaneen
Tzaneen
at about the 22° S parallel. The absence of the Great Escarpment for about 450 km (280 mi) to the north of Tzaneen
Tzaneen
(to reappear on the border between Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
and Mozambique
Mozambique
in the Chimanimani
Chimanimani
Highlands) is due to a failed westerly branch of the main rift that caused Antarctica
Antarctica
to start drifting away from Southern Africa during the breakup of Gondwana
Gondwana
about 150 million years ago. The lower Limpopo
Limpopo
River and Save River drain into the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
through what remains of this relict incipient rift valley which now forms part of the South African Low veld.[5] Geomorphology[edit] Appearance[edit]

An approximate SW-NE cross section through South Africa
South Africa
with the Cape Peninsula (with Table Mountain) on the far left, and north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
on the right. Diagrammatic and only roughly to scale. It shows how the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Escarpment is related to the major geographical features that dominate the southern and eastern parts of the country, particularly the Central Plateau, whose south-western edge (in the diagram) is called the Roggeberg escarpment (not labelled). The major geological layers that shape this geography are indicated in different colors, whose significance and origin are explained under the headings "Karoo Supergroup" and "Cape Supergroup". The 1600 m thick layer of hard, erosion-resistant basalt (lava) that accounts for the height and steepness of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Escarpment on the KwaZuluNatal- Lesotho
Lesotho
border is indicated in blue. Immediately below it is the Stormberg Group shown in green. The Clarence Formation with its numerous caves and San rock paintings, forms part of this latter group.

The escarpment seen from below looks like a range of mountains. The Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
and Lesotho
Lesotho
Drakensberg
Drakensberg
have hard erosion-resistant upper surfaces and therefore have a very rugged appearance, combining steep-sided blocks and pinnacles (giving rise to the Zulu name "Barrier of up-pointed spears"). Who first gave these mountains their Afrikaans
Afrikaans
or Dutch name Drakensberg, and why, is unknown.[4]). The KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
– Free State Drakensberg
Drakensberg
are composed of softer rocks and therefore have a more rounded, softer appearance from below. The top of the escarpment is generally almost table-top flat and smooth, even in Lesotho. The " Lesotho
Lesotho
Mountains" are formed away from the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
escarpment by erosion gulleys which turn into deep valleys which contain tributaries of the Orange River. The large number of tributaries give the Lesotho
Lesotho
Highlands a very rugged mountainous appearance, both from the ground and from the air. The higher parts of Drakensberg
Drakensberg
has a mildly periglacial environment. It is possible that recent climate change has diminished the intensity of periglaciation.[14] Composition of rocks[edit] The geological composition of Drakensberg
Drakensberg
(escarpment wall) varies considerably along its more than 1000 km length. The Limpopo
Limpopo
and Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Drakensberg
Drakensberg
are capped by an erosion resistant quartzite layer which is part of the Transvaal Supergroup which also forms the Magaliesberg
Magaliesberg
to the north and northwest of Pretoria.[5] These rocks are more than 2000 million years old. South of the 26°S parallel the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
escarpment is composed of Ecca shales, which belong to the Karoo Supergroup, which are 300 million years old.[5][11] The portion of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
that forms the KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
– Free State border is formed by slightly younger Beaufort rocks (250 million years old) which are also part of the Karoo Supergroup. The Ecca and Beaufort groups are composed of sedimentary rocks which are less erosion resistant than the other rocks which make up the Drakensberg escarpment. This portion of escarpment is therefore not as impressive as the Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
and Lesotho
Lesotho
stretches of the Drakensberg. The Drakensberg
Drakensberg
which form the north-eastern and eastern borders of Lesotho, as well as the Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
Drakensberg
Drakensberg
are composed of a thick layer of basalt (lava) which erupted 180 million years ago.[5][11] That rests on the youngest of the Karoo Supergroup sediments, the Clarens sandstone, which was laid down under desert conditions, about 200 million years ago.[5][11] Highest peaks[edit] The highest peak is Thabana Ntlenyana, at 3,482 m (11,424 ft). Other notable peaks include Mafadi
Mafadi
(3,450 m (11,319 ft)), Makoaneng at 3,416 m, Njesuthi
Njesuthi
at 3,408 m, Champagne Castle
Champagne Castle
at 3,377 m, Giant's Castle
Giant's Castle
at 3,315 m, Ben Macdhui at 3,001 m, and Popple Peak
Popple Peak
at 3331m, all of these are in the area bordering on Lesotho. Another popular area for hikers is Cathedral Peak. North of Lesotho
Lesotho
the range becomes lower and less rugged until entering Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
where the quartzite mountains of the Transvaal Drakensberg
Drakensberg
are loftier and more broken and form the eastern rim of the Transvaal Basin, the Blyde River Canyon lying within this stretch. The geology of this section is the same as and continuous with that of the Magaliesberg. Mountain passes[edit] Main article: List of mountain passes of KwaZulu-Natal Ecology[edit]

Tugela Falls
Tugela Falls
vicinity – Tugela River
Tugela River
in valley

Little Saddle

The high treeless peaks of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
(from 2,500 m (8,200 ft) upwards) have been described by the World Wildlife Fund as the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
alti-montane grasslands and woodlands ecoregion. These steep slopes are the most southerly high mountains in Africa, and being further from the equator provide cooler habitats at lower elevations than most mountain ranges on the continent. The high rainfall generates many mountain streams and rivers, including the sources of the Orange River, southern Africa's longest, and the Tugela River. These mountains also have the world's second-highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls
Tugela Falls
(Thukela Falls), which has a total drop of 947 m (3,107 ft). The rivers that run from the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
are an essential resource for South Africa's economy, providing water for the industrial provinces of Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
and Gauteng, which contains the city of Johannesburg.[15] The climate is wet and cool at the high elevations, which experience snowfall in winter. Meanwhile, the grassy lower slopes (from 1,800 to 2,500 m (5,900 to 8,200 ft)) of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
in Swaziland, South Africa
South Africa
and Lesotho
Lesotho
constitute the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Montane Grassland, Woodland, and Forest. Flora[edit]

Cathedral Valley

The mountains are rich in plant life, including a large number of species listed in the Red Data Book of threatened plants, with 119 species listed as globally endangered and "of the 2 153 plant species in the park, a remarkable 98 are endemic or near-endemic".[16] The flora of the high alti-montane grasslands is mainly tussock grass, creeping plants, and small shrubs such as ericas. These include the rare Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla), which as its name suggests has leaves with a spiral shape. Meanwhile, the lower slopes are mainly grassland but are also home to conifers, which are rare in Africa, the species of conifer found in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
is Podocarpus. The grassland itself is of interest as it contains a great number of endemic plants. Grasses found here include oat grass Monocymbium ceresiiforme, Diheteropogon filifolius, Sporobolus
Sporobolus
centrifugus, caterpillar grass (Harpochloa falx), Cymbopogon
Cymbopogon
dieterlenii, and Eulalia villosa. In the highest part of Drakensberg
Drakensberg
the composition of the flora is independent on slope aspect (dicrection) and varies depending on the hardness of the rock clasts. This hardness is related to weathering and is variable even within a single landform.[14] Fauna[edit] The Drakensberg
Drakensberg
area is "home to 299 recorded bird species"' making up "37% of all non-marine avian species in southern Africa."[16] There are 24 species of snakes in the Drakensbergs 2 of which are highly venomous.[17] Fauna of the high peaks[edit] There is one bird that is endemic to the high peaks, the mountain pipit (Anthus hoeschi), while another six are found mainly here: Bush blackcap (Lioptilus nigricapillus), buff-streaked chat (Oenanthe bifasciata), Rudd's lark
Rudd's lark
(Heteromirafra ruddi), Drakensberg
Drakensberg
rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius), yellow-breasted pipit (Anthus chloris), and Drakensberg siskin
Drakensberg siskin
(Serinus symonsi). The endangered Cape vulture
Cape vulture
and lesser kestrel are two of the birds of prey that hunt in the mountains. Mammals include klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), eland (Taurotragus oryx) and mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula). Other endemic species include three frogs found in the mountain streams, Drakensberg
Drakensberg
river frog, (Amietia dracomontana), Phofung river frog (Amietia vertebralis) and Maluti river frog (Amietia umbraculata). Fish are found in the many rivers and streams including the Maluti redfin (Pseudobarbus quathlambae), which was thought to be extinct but has been found in the Senqunyane River
Senqunyane River
in Lesotho.[18] [19] Fauna of the lower slopes[edit]

Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Cliffs

The lower slopes of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
support much wildlife, perhaps most importantly the rare southern white rhinoceros (which was nurtured here when facing extinction) and the black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou, which as of 2011[update] only thrives in protected areas and game reserves). The area is home to large herds of grazing and antelopes such as eland (Taurotragus oryx), reedbuck (Redunca arundinum), mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula), grey rhebok (Pelea capreolus), and even some oribi (Ourebia ourebi). Chacma baboons are also present. Endemic species include a large number of chameleons and other reptiles. There is one endemic frog, forest rain frog (Breviceps sylvestris), and four more that are found mainly in these mountains; long-toed tree frog (Leptopelis xenodactylus), plaintive rain frog (Breviceps maculatus), rough rain frog (Breviceps verrucosus), and Poynton's caco (Cacosternum poyntoni). Conservation[edit]

A view of the Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Drakensberg
Drakensberg
portion of the Great Escarpment, from God's Window, near Graskop
Graskop
looking south. The hard erosion resistant layer that forms the upper edge of the escarpment here consists of flat lying quartzite belonging to the Black Reef Formation, which also forms the Magaliesberg
Magaliesberg
mountains near Pretoria.[5][10]

The high slopes are hard to reach so the environment is fairly undamaged. However, tourism in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
is developing, with a variety of hiking trails, hotels and resorts appearing on the slopes. Most of the higher South African parts of the range have been designated as game reserves or wilderness areas. Of these the uKhahlamba Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Park was listed by UNESCO
UNESCO
in 2000 as a World Heritage site. The park is also in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (under the Ramsar Convention). The Royal Natal National Park, which contains some of the higher peaks, is part of this large park complex. Adjacent to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage
World Heritage
Site is the 1900 ha Allendale Mountain Reserve which is the largest private reserve adjoining the World Heritage
World Heritage
Site and is found in the accessible Kamberg area, the heart of the historic San (Bushman) painting region of the Ukhahlamba. The grassland of the lower slopes meanwhile has been greatly affected by agriculture, especially overgrazing. Original grassland and forest has nearly all disappeared and more protection is needed, though the Giant's Castle
Giant's Castle
reserve is a haven for the eland and also is a breeding ground for the bearded vulture.

Panorama of the Giant's Castle
Giant's Castle
region

The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area
Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area
was established to preserve some of the high mountain areas of the range.[20] Urban areas[edit] Towns and cities in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
area include, from South to North, Matatiele and Barkly East
Barkly East
in the Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
Province; Ladysmith, Newcastle, Ulundi – the former Zulu capital, Dundee and Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal; all of Lesotho, whose capital is Maseru
Maseru
and Tzaneen
Tzaneen
in Limpopo
Limpopo
Province. San cave paintings[edit]

San rock painting of an eland in a Clarens Formation
Clarens Formation
cave in the UKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
UKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
of KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
close to the Lesotho border.

There are numerous caves in the easily eroded sandstone of Clarens Formation, the layer below the thick, hard basalt layer on the KwaZulu Natal- Lesotho
Lesotho
border. Many of these caves have rock paintings by the San (Bushmen). This portion of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
has between 35,000 and 40,000 works of San rock art[16][21] and is the largest collection of such work in the world. Some 20,000 individual rock paintings have been recorded at 500 different caves and overhanging sites between the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Royal Natal National Park
Royal Natal National Park
and Bushman's Nek.[21] Due to the materials used in their production, these paintings are difficult to date but there is anthropological evidence, including many hunting implements, that the San people
San people
existed in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
at least 40,000 years ago, and possibly over 100,000 years ago. According to mountainsides.co.za, "[i]n Nd edema Gorge in the Central Ginsberg 3,900 paintings have been recorded at 17 sites. One of them, Sebaayeni Cave, contains 1,146 individual paintings."[22] The website south Africa.info indicates that though "the oldest painting on a rock shelter wall in the Ginsberg dates back about 2400 years.....paint chips at least a thousand years older have also been found."[16] The site also indicates that "[t]he rock art of the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
is the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, and is outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject."[16] In popular culture[edit] The Drakensberg
Drakensberg
was featured in the 2009 American science fiction film 2012. It was mentioned in the last scene of the movie, where after twenty-seven days of a great flood which people tried to survive by building arks, the waters began receding. The arks approach the Cape of Good Hope, where the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
(now the tallest mountain range on Earth) emerges. See also[edit]

List of mountains in South Africa Maloti Mountains

References[edit]

^ Atlas of Southern Africa(1984). p. 13, 190–192. Readers Digest Association, Cape Town ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (1975); Micropaedia Vol. III, p. 655. Helen Hemingway Benton Publishers, Chicago. ^ [1] ^ a b Pearse, R.O. (1973) Barrier of Spears. Drama of the Drakensberg. p. i. Howard Timmins, Epping, Cape ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n McCarthy, T. & Rubidge, B. (2005). The Story of Earth and Life. pp. 16–7,192–195, 245–248, 263, 267–269. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. ^ a b c Truswell, J.F. (1977). The Geological Evolution of South Africa. pp. 151–153,157–159,184–188, 190. Purnell, Cape Town. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (1975); Macropaedia, Vol. 17. p. 60. Helen Hemingway Benton Publishers, Chicago. ^ a b Atlas of Southern Africa. (1984). Readers Digest Association, Cape Town ^ McCarthy, T.S. (2013) "The Okavango delta and its place in the geomorphological evolution of Southern Africa," South African Journal of Geology 116: 1–54. ^ a b c Norman, n. & Whitfield, G. (2006). Geological Journeys. p.290-300. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. ^ a b c d e f Geological map of South Africa, Lesotho
Lesotho
and Swaziland (1970). Council for Geoscience, Geological Survey of South Africa. ^ Sycholt, August (2002). Roxanne Reid, ed. A Guide to the Drakensberg. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p. 9. ISBN 1-86872-593-6.  ^ The Times comprehensive atlas of the World. (1999) p. 90. Times Books Group, London. ^ a b Knight, Jasper; Grab, Stefan W.; Carbutt, Clinton (2018). "Influence of mountain geomorphology on alpine ecosystems in the Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Alpine Centre, Southern Africa". Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography. doi:10.1080/04353676.2017.1418628.  ^ " Drakensberg
Drakensberg
alti-montane grasslands and woodlands". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.  ^ a b c d e Alexander, Mary. "Drakensberg: Barrier of Spears". Retrieved 2008-10-03.  ^ Irwin, Pat (1983). A field guide to the Natal Drakensberg. The Natal Branch of the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa. p. 129. ISBN 0 949966 452.  ^ "Maloti Minnow". Lhwp.org.ls. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-08.  ^ A Complete Guide to the southern African Frogs. Louis du Preez and Vincent Carruthers ^ Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area
Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area
Archived 30 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b "Bushman and San Paintings in the Drakensberg". Drakensberg Tourism. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03.  ^ " Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Rock Art". Retrieved 2008-10-03. 

Rosen, Deborah; Lewis, Colin; Illgner, Peter (1999). "Palaeoclimatic And Archaeological Implications of Organic- Rich Sediments at Tifftidell Ski Resort, Near Rhodes, Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
Province, South Africa". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa. 54 (2): 311–321. doi:10.1080/00359199909520630. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Drakensberg.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia
Collier's Encyclopedia
article Drakenberge.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ukhahlamba Drakensberg.

Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Escarpment in a weekend travel guide from Wikivoyage KZN Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Homepage – Official Website for the KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg. Nature – Drakensberg: Barrier of Spears – PBS Nature episode covering the eland (largest member of antelope family) of the Drakensberg. Drakensberg hiking trails Maloti-Drakensberg

v t e

Major African geological formations

Plates

African Plate Somali Plate Madagascar Plate Seychelles Plate

Cratons and shields

Arabian-Nubian Shield Congo Craton Kaapvaal Craton Kalahari Craton Saharan Metacraton Tanzania Craton Tuareg Shield West African Craton Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Craton

Shear zones

Aswa Dislocation Broodkop Shear Zone Central African Shear Zone Chuan Shear Zones Foumban Shear Zone Kandi Fault Zone Mwembeshi Shear Zone Todi Shear Zone Western Meseta Shear Zone

Orogens

Alpide Orogen Cape Fold Belt Damara Orogen East African Orogen Eburnean Orogen Gondwanide Orogen Kibaran Orogen Kuunga Orogen Mauritanide Belt Pan-African orogens Terra Australis Orogen

Rifts

Afar Triangle Anza trough Bahr el Arab rift Benue Trough Blue Nile rift East African Rift Gulf of Suez Rift Lamu Embayment Melut Basin Muglad Basin Red Sea Rift Sangha Aulacogen Atbara rift White Nile rift

Sedimentary basins

Angola Basin Aoukar Blue Nile Basin Chad Basin Congo Basin Douala Basin El Djouf Foreland Karoo Basin Gabon Basin Iullemmeden Basin Kufra Basin Murzuq Basin Niger Delta Basin Ogaden Basin Orange River
Orange River
basin Ouled Abdoun Basin Owambo Basin Reggane Basin Rio del Rey Basin Sirte Basin Somali Coastal Basin Taoudeni basin Tanzania Coastal Basin Tindouf Basin Turkana Basin

Mountain ranges

Aïr Mountains Atlas Mountains Aurès Mountains Bambouk Mountains Blue Mountains Cameroon line Central Pangean Mountains Chaillu Mountains Drakensberg Ethiopian Highlands East African mountains Great Escarpment Great Karas Mountains Guinée forestière Imatong Mountains Jebel Uweinat Loma Mountains Mandara Mountains Marrah Mountains Mitumba Mountains Nuba Mountains Rif
Rif
Mountains Rwenzori Mountains Sankwala Mountains Serra da Leba Serra da Chela Teffedest Mountains Tibesti Mountains

v t e

World Heritage
World Heritage
Sites in South Africa

For official site names, see each article or the List of World Heritage Sites in South Africa.

Cape Floral Region Protected Areas Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa

Cradle of Humankind Makapan
Makapan
Valley Taung
Taung
Child

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape Richtersveld
Richtersveld
Cultural and Botanical Landscape Robben Island uKhahlamba / Drakensberg
Drakensberg
Park Vredefort Dome ǀXam and ǂKhoma

.