Geological journeys – Kamanassie Mountain range

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Gazing along the length of the southern slopes of the Kamanassie Mountain range, a hint of a former era looms from beneath the towering peaks.

Aligned along an east west axis, the range extends approximately 58km from Uniondale in the east to Dysseldorp in the west and south east of De Rust and Meiringspoort. Beneath the blazing sun the series of peaks and plateaus have an ambience of geological origins, a ruminant of a pre hominid existence.

Geologically, it is an intriguing mountain range,  a lone protrusion punctuating the valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg mountain ranges, a nestled ridge seemingly detached from the flanking ranges north and south of it.

Descending to the base of the Kamanassie range, the southern slopes level out to a distinct coastal cut plateau grooved by deeply incised valleys. The plateau is located roughly 40km north of the current coastline in the Garden Route and situated 1000m above present sea level. This ancient coastal shelf hints at an era when the Cape Fold Mountains were growing and sea levels transformed the Kamanassie Mountain range into a towering island.

Fossil records north of the Kamanassie in the Great Karoo account for life spanning between 460 to 60 million years ago, a hint of the diversity of life that has roamed and swum over this mountain range.

Driving along the gravel road which follows the meandering valley on the southern foothills of the Kamanassie offers not only a journey into floral transition from Fynbos to Karoo scrub, but also transports you through the geological processes that formed this dramatic landscape.

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