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S.3 Geography Notes

The Montane Climate

This type of climate is experienced in the high land areas like the Ethiopian highlands, East African Highlands and the Rwanda highlands and the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.  There is a ring of climatic types depending on the altitude: 

  • Savanna climate at the foot of the mountain
  • Rainfall belt between 2000m-3000mm  
  • The temperate climate above 3000m
  • Semi-arid and arid climate over 4000m above seas level 

Activity: Draw a diagram to show the climatic zones around the mountain in the tropics and Describe the economic activities for each of the zone.

The high altitude lowers the daily temperatures to an average of less than 160.  When winds blow over the highlands, they are forced to rise and cool leading to deposition of moisture within the air and to heavy relief rainfall on the wind ward side of the highlands.

The High Veld:

Location: The plateau region extending from the Pretoria district and Swaziland south eastwards through Orange Free State, western Natal and Lesotho, to the plateau edge in Cape Province.

Climatic characteristics:  

  • A temperate continental climate with temperatures ranging from 100 centigrade (winter) to 190 (summer).  
  • Annual rainfalls decrease from 780 mm in the east to about 400 mm in the west. Rain is brought by westerly air streams from the Indian Ocean.
  • Winter months tend to be dry.  


Warm East Margin or humid Sub-tropical:

Location: This covers by the coastal areas of Eastern Cape Province, Natal and Mozambique, westwards to the interior plateau.

Climatic characteristics:  

  • Annual rainfall is between 900mm and 1150 mm, most of which falls in the summer (November to Mach).
  • Rain is conventional and orographic


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