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The magnificent Chapman’s Peak Drive

Posted by yolandi | Articles | Posted on August 16th, 2010

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Chapman’s Peak Drive is situated on the Atlantic Coast winding its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay, at the south-western tip of South Africa. It is one of the most spectacular marine drives anywhere in the world.

The drive offers breathtaking 180° views with many areas along the route where you can stop and take in the scenery or sit down for a relaxing picnic. The 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak, the 593m high southerly extension of Constantia Berg.

View from Chapmans Peak of Hout Bay harbour
Creative Commons License photo credit: Crouch 24/7:

Sir Frederic de Waal, the first administrator of the Cape Province, was the mastermind behind Chapman’s Peak Drive. De Waal Drive, in Cape Town, was named after him.

Work on the road began in 1915 after the best route along the soft band of shale between the mountain’s granite base and the overlying sandstone was determined. This stretch was blasted into the mountain side and is a masterpiece of road construction. The route was formally opened in 1922.

Rock falls were a constant threat and a series of unfortunate events lead to the closing of Chapman’s Peak Drive in January 2000. But its closure had a severe impact on the economy of the South Peninsula and had a serious impact on the productivity of all who did business and/or lived in the area.

While closed, this spectacular roadway denied the traveler some of the best scenery in the Cape Peninsula. Thus due to its sensitive location within the Cape Peninsula National Park an integrated environmental approach to the rehabilitation and upgrading of Chapman’s Peak Drive was warranted.

The reopening of Chapman’s Peak Drive is the culmination of one of the most innovative road engineering projects ever to be undertaken in South Africa. The upgrading (or rather reconstruction) of Chapman’s Peak Drive is indeed an engineering feat that will for many years be regarded as one of the top road engineering projects in the country.

Article Source: chapmanspeakdrive.co.za

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