kloof, noun

cleugh, cloefShow more Also formerly cleugh, cloef, clof, cloff, cloffe, cloof, clough, clufe, cluff, clugh, kloaf, kloff, klooft, kluff, klugh.
Afrikaans, South African Dutch, Middle Dutch, U.S. EnglishShow more Afrikaans, earlier South African Dutch, from Middle Dutch clove cleft (in which form it is found in U.S. English).
1. Obsolete except in place-names such as Bain’s Kloof, Brickmaker’s Kloof, Tamboerskloof: a narrow natural or man-made pass between mountains.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 18As the Lion- is separated from the Table-Hill by a small Kloof, as the Dutch call it (i.e. Cleft or Descent) so is the Wind- or Devil’s-Hill from the Lion-Hill.
1776 F. Masson in Phil. Trans. of Royal Soc. LXVI. 273Kloof, is a narrow passage over a lower part of a chain of mountains, or sometimes a narrow passage between mountains.
1790 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 7Here may be said to be one of the most difficult passes into the country, called Hottentot Holland’s Kloaf. [Note] Kloaf signifies a narrow pass through the mountains.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 183From Roode Zand we took the usual way through its kloof, which has a considerable eminence that must be crossed.
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 63Of these passes, or kloofs as they are called by the colonists, there are but three that are ever used by wheel-carriages.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 64The reader is probably aware from other travels that the term kloof is not appropriated solely to the passage of which we are here speaking; it is a general name given to all mountain-roads of a similar kind.
a1823 J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 62We crossed a range of mountains called the How Hoek, by a pass or klooft more dreaded by the Boors, than that of Hottentot Holland though neither so steep or long.
1835 G. Champion Jrnl (1968) 32The village of B.[ethelsdorp] is situated at the entrance of one of the kloofs or clefts through the range of hills before described. A stream of water issues from the same forming a kind of valley.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I. 75The shepherd of the field-corporal, a Bush boy, in returning home with the flock one evening through a kloof or pass, stayed behind to bring up some of the lame.
1862 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 90What is meant by a ‘kloof’ is the gap between two mountain chains that threaten to touch. At best, they are very narrow and tortuous, now contracting till the crags almost exclude the light, now opening into glorious vistas of rock and river.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 45Anon, our road led through some rocky pass, or kloof, from whose summit came the harsh grunts of the enormous baboons which regarded us with evident curiosity.
2. A (wooded) gorge or valley; a ravine running down a mountainside.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. p.xiiiKloof signifies a valley, or such a cleft in the mountains as is either inhabited by the Colonists, or admit of a passage through it on horseback or with a carriage of any kind.
1815 G. Barker Journal. 2 Sept.Br. P. left us in the afternoon to go to a farm hous[e] in the Kloof & prepare for us bread &c.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 15This pass is defended by a block-house, and is called the Kloof, a word of frequent occurrence in this colony, and signifying a pass, either over or between mountains, and often a deep ravine down the side of a mountain.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 36The woody kloofs, or ravines in this range, contain many of the forest trees and other plants which, according to common opinion, are only to be found in more distant parts of the colony.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 17Kloof, in the country round the Cape, generally means a pass among the hills and mountains; in Albany, a deep wooded hollow, frequently the retreat of savage animals.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 300Soft, cool moss and fern, in the shade of a steep, wooded kloof.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 164Gave Scottish names to several of the subsidiary glens and cleughs, or kloofs, as the colonists call them.
1841 J. Collett Diary. II. 13 MaySome Flocks Folded in the Kloofs on acct. of the wet Kralls.
1845 S. Dennison in D.R. Edgecombe, Letters of Hannah Dennison. (1968) 209They found him in a cloef at the foot of an imence crance of[f] wich he had thrown himself.
1850 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 144After a hard day of precipitous climbing [we] found ourselves at nightfall quite entangled amongst the kloofs on the west side of the Great Winterberg.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life 237The name ‘kloof’ is applied to any valley; but it seems more particularly to refer to the hollows cut out (as it were) in the sides of mountain ranges.
1856 G. Grey in Imp. Blue Bks Command Paper 2352–1857, 36The seaward side of the range is intersected by deep rocky kloofs, clothed with forests of large trees, in which many rivers rise; these kloofs open, even in the mountain range, into wide and fertile valleys.
1861 Lady Duff-Gordon Lett. from Cape (1925) 46What a divine spot! Such kloofs, with silver rills running down them!
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 66Woody-sided kloofs striking off now and again to your right in the direction of the Kroome range.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 159A grand background of wooded gorges, — or corries, as you Scotch have it, or kloofs, according to the boers.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 10The air was so clear that we could plainly discern the indentations, or kloofs as they are called, in the sides of the distant mountains.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 269The sides of the mountain consisted of long bare ridges with deep kloofs between, devoid of vegetation.
1899 (tr. of J.A.U. de Mist) in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1899) V. 179The burgher senate is particularly enjoined to give every encouragement to the planting of trees for timber and fuel..in the flat, the sidelings and ‘cloofs’ (ravines) — alongside and on the top of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Lion’s Rump.
1899 H. Rider Haggard Swallow p.ivHer face was rich in hue as a kloof lily.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. (1964) 60The stream..rises on the top of the mountain and comes down a kloof near its eastern end and the path to reach the top goes up the kloof.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir 157He wanders off into the veldt alone and hides in kloofs, dives into deep pools of which others are afraid.
1948 H.E. Hockly Story of Brit. Settlers of 1820 18Between the rolling grass-covered hills, dotted with mimosa trees and thickets, were deep, thickly wooded ‘kloofs’ affording protection to wild animals of endless variety.
1962 Bokmakierie June 20From the berg heavily wooded kloofs lead down to the flatter plains at the edge of the dam.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 82The kloofs were filled by a thick bush of mighty trees which made a fairyland of fern and flowers where man seldom if ever ventured.
1976 A.P. Brink Instant in Wind 46To one side lie the Company’s gardens; to the other, the fountains fed by water running from Table Mountain down a ravine or kloof visible from town.
[1985 A. Tredgold Bay between Mountains 195Another threat to the old village..has been a plan to cram 28 ‘luxury’ flats onto three plots in the kloofie between the end of Loch Road and Godfrey Road.]
1988 J. Scott in Cape Times 8 Aug. 6The foolhardy..often commit themselves with irresponsible abandon to kloofs and gullies which even a trained climber would not attempt.
1993 F. Van Rensburg in Getaway Nov. 93The vegetation in the protected kloof differs a lot from that of the exposed mountain slopes.
a narrow natural or man-made pass between mountains.
A (wooded) gorge or valley; a ravine running down a mountainside.
Hence kloofing  verbal noun, exploring and hiking in kloofs.
1986 Argus 11 Jan.A definition of kloofing — if there is one — is hard to find, but..it is an adventure which offers excitement, exercise and outdoor fun.
1990 A. Bumstead in Style June 111Last year, we tried mountain bikes (..ideal for the nearby hills and mountains around Swellendam)...Next year, who knows? Hiking? Kloofing? Pogo stick safaris.
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