mountains in southern Africa, located in the Republic of South Africa between Port Elizabeth on the east and the mouth of the Olifants River on the west.
The Cape Mountains are approximately 800 km long and consist of several parallel ranges. The average elevation is 1, 500 m, with a maximum elevation of 2, 326 m. The Cape Mountains are composed of sandstones and quartzites. They run east to west for 600 km, from Port Elizabeth to Worcester, and they frame a longitudinal valley (the Little Karroo) from the north (the Swartberge) and south (the Langeberge and Outeniquaberge). From Worcester they turn west-northwest (the Olifantsrivierberge and the Sederberge).
The climate in the west is Mediterranean, with winter precipitation (more than 600 mm on the windward slopes). Precipitation is more uniform to the east (more than 800 mm a year). There is snow on the peaks in winter. The leeward slopes and the inner valleys are semidesert. Mainly secondary thickets of ever-green shrubs grow on the windward slopes to the west; mixed coniferous and deciduous forests grow on brown and mountain-forest-brown soils in the east.