World renowned Oribi Gorge

In this short article we take a look at how the world renowned Oribi Gorge was formed. This really is a must read for all nature lovers…

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Oribi Gorge is a canyon in southern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, just west of Port Shepstone, which itself is 120 km south of Durban. Oribi Gorge, cut by the Mzimkulwana River, is the eastern gorge of two gorges that cut through the Oribi Flats (flat sugarcane farmlands) of KwaZulu-Natal. The western gorge was formed by the Mzimkulu River. The gorge is approximately 400 metres (1,300 ft) deep, and almost 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) wide at its widest.

Erosion by these rivers have carved out nearly 30 kilometers (19 mi) of spectacular Kloofs and crags, covered with subtropical vegetation. In the gorge, the dense forest on the sandstone slopes is home to various small mammals, while the large Leguaans excavate their burrows along the riverbanks.

At the base of the cliffs of both gorges the basement rocks are part of the Kaapvaal Craton, which are over 1000 million years old. The cliffs themselves are formed from sandstone deposited about 365 million years ago. Downstream from the gorges, a large surface mine producing cement from a limestone deposit. The road through Oribi Gorge was built by Italian prisoners of war.

Oribi Gorge derives its name from the Oribi, a small antelope that lives in the gorges.

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