1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Drakensberg

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DRAKENSBERG (Quathlamba or Kahlamba, i.e. “heaped up and jagged,” of the natives), a mountain chain of S.E. Africa, running parallel to the coast from Basutoland to the Limpopo river—a distance of some 600 m. The Drakensberg are the eastern part of the rampart which forms the edge of the inner tableland of South Africa. The sides of the mountains facing the sea are in general precipitous; on their inner face they slope more or less gently to the plateau. The culminating points of the range, and the highest lands in South Africa, are found in a sharp bend from S.E. to N.W. in about 29° S. 29° E., where “the Berg” (as the range is called locally) forms the frontier between Natal and Basutoland. Within 60 m. of one another are three mountains, Giant’s Castle, Champagne Castle or Cathkin Peak, and Mont aux Sources, 10,000 to 11,000 or more ft. above the sea. From Mont aux Sources the normal N.E. direction of the range is resumed. Conspicuous among the heights along the Orange Free State, Transvaal and Natal frontiers are Tintwa, Malani, Inkwelo and Amajuba or Majuba (q.v.), all between 7000 and 8000 ft. The Draken’s Berg—the particular hill from which the range is named—is 5682 ft. high and lies between Malani and Inkwelo heights. It was so named by the voortrekkers about 1840. North of Majuba the range enters the Transvaal. Here the elevation is generally lower than in the south, but the Mauch Berg is about 8500 ft. high. At its northernmost point the range joins the Zoutpansberg. In their southern part the Drakensberg form the parting between the rivers draining west to the Atlantic and those flowing south and east to the Indian Ocean. At Mont aux Sources rise the chief headwaters of the Orange, Tugela and other rivers. In the north, however, several streams rising in the interior plateau, e.g. the Komati, the Crocodile and the Olifants, pierce the Drakensberg and reach the Indian Ocean. The range has numerous passes, many available for wheeled traffic. Van Reenen’s Pass, between Tintwa and Malani, is crossed by a railway which connects the Orange Free State and Natal: Laing’s Nek, the main pass leading from Natal to the Transvaal, which lies under the shadow of Majuba, is pierced by a railway tunnel. The railway from Delagoa Bay to Pretoria crosses the Drakensberg by a very steep gradient. Several subsidiary ranges branch off from the main chain of the Berg. This is especially the case in Natal, where one range is known as the Little Drakensberg. (See further Basutoland; Natal And Transvaal.)