The Bloupoort Pass lies on the east-west axis through a natural poort just beyond the Vaalpunt Mountain, some 30km due East of Sutherland in the Northern Cape. The pass is very short at only 1.16 km and presents no dangers other than the usual wet weather cautionary - but this is the Great Karoo and rains seldom fall here. The average gradient is a gentle 1:34
The Blounek Pass runs through a very gentle curve on the tarred R63 between Williston and Carnarvon between a series of slightly raised 'koppies'. It holds no apparent dangers and only gains 36 meters of altitude over 3,91 km, giving an average gradient of 1:49, with the steepest parts being at 1:12,5. The best feature of this little pass is that it is just 10 km West of Carnarvon - a Karoo sheep farming town which sees soaring summer temperatures above 40C and where the lure of ice cold drinks is bound to find favour with thirsty travellers.Read more...
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Published in Gauteng
This rough, gravel road pass runs through a cleft on the East/West axis through the Langberg Mountains in a remote part of the arid Northern Cape. The Bergenaarspad Pass is named after the farm of the same name which lies just to the East of the Langberg mountain range . Roughly translated it means 'The road of the mountain people'Read more...
The Botterkloof pass is a fairly substantial altitude gaining pass in the Northern Cape between Clanwilliam and Nieuwoudtville. It is the third of a trio of passes on the R364 route for those travelling from West to East. In rainy weather or snow conditions, this pass can become very tricky even in a 4WD vehicle. The origins of the name are not known, but it is probably named after dairy (butter) products being produced on a nearby farm or possibly that the pass becomes as slippery as butter in bad weather.Read more...
Grey's Pass is approximately 150 years old and was designed and built by Thomas Bain in1857 using 220 convict labourers. This lovely old pass is still publicly accessible (at time of writing) either on foot, mountain bike or car. It can be accessed on the southern end where it forms a T-Junction with the R365, which itself can be accessed from the N7. On the Northern end it can be accessed via the gravel road close to the entrance to a farm stall and the access road to the hot mineral baths known as "The Pools" . The middle section is shared commonly with the Piekenierskloof Pass.Read more...
The Bastersnek pass is also sometimes called the Bastershoek Pass. It is named after the farm through which it passes, called Bastard's Neck. No-one knows which bastard had his neck on a block to have attained such notoriety, but the name does allow the imagination to run roit! This is one of the shortest passes in South Africa at just 1.18 km and it only rises 42 vertical meters, giving an average gradient of 1:28 - but then, this is the Great Karoo where things tend to be flat and wide.Read more...
The Tintwa Pass is a 4,72 km gravel road running through the Drakensberg on the South-East/ North-West axis. It is known as the S1101 and connects the farming areas north of Bergville with the upper plateaux of the Free State around Swinburne, Van Reenen and Harrismith. Some references list the Middledale Pass and the Tintwa pass as being the same pass. Together they are virtually one long pass with a plateau joining the middle. With an average gradient of 1:48 this is a safe pass for most vehicles except in very wet weather.
The Piekenierskloof Pass has a long and interesting history dating back to the mid 1800's when Thomas Bain built the first pass through the neck in the Olifantsrivier Mountains, which separate the Swartland of the Cape from the mineral rich lands to the North. Bain named the pass after Sir George Grey, (hence Grey's Pass) but when the pass was rebuilt to a more comfortable gradient in 1958, the new pass reverted to it's original name - Piquenierskloof which was simplified to Piekenierskloof.Read more...
This short, gravel pass is located just after the Biedouw Valley/Wupperthal turn-off on the R 364. Despite it's relatively low altitude, the views from the summit are well worth stopping for, as the plains of the Karoo stretch out in a seemingly endless horizon dotted with koppies. In springtime, this is one of the best flower spotting routes. The pass is one of three that lie on the R364 between Clanwilliam (WC) and Nieuwoudtville (NC) - the other two being the Pakhuis Pass to the West and the Botterkloof Pass further to the East. Both are featured on this website.Read more...
The Swaarmoed Pass is located approximately 20 km North east of Ceres. The 8 km long tarred pass rises 445 vertical meters to summit at just over 1100 m ASL. It is the favourite access route to the snow fields on the highlands near Klondyke and Erfdeel farms, the latter perhaps better known as Matroosberg with a summit altitude of 2226m ASL - it is also the highest peak in the Western Cape.Read more...
The Bo-Swaarmoed Pass (sometimes also referred to as the Uitkomst Pass is located to the North of the Swaarmoed Pass, a few kilometers after the Matroosberg turn-off. It is a gravel road that connects the summit of the Swaarmoed Pass 2,5 km North of the ERFDEEL farm, where the tar road is boomed off to a private fruit farm and nature reserve,with the farm Uitkoms in the lower valley to the North. (they have dropped the "t" off from the old Dutch name.)
The Gannaga Pass is a magnificent Bain designed gravel road rising 548 meters up through the Roggeveld Mountains towards the high plateaux near Middelpos and Sutherland beyond. The pass does not break any records in terms of altitude, gradient or length, but is posseses an almost ethereal quality from a combination of graceful curves, raw mountain beauty and scope of vision that is rarely repeated in other passes.Read more...
The Bloukrans Pass on the R355 some 20 km south of Calvinia, is one of four Bloukrans Passes in South Africa. It is named after the majestic Bloukransberge over which foothills the pass traverses. This is a safe, well designed road in all, but very wet conditions and snow does sometimes fall on the pass's upper reaches (1029m ASL)Read more...
The Nuwekloof Pass has a long history dating back to the early 1700's and is also known in it's various forms as the Nieuwekloof Pass, the Roodezand Pass or the Tulbaghkloof Pass. It is a modern, safe, well engineered pass which connect the towns of Tulbagh and Wellington on the tarred R46 route.Read more...
Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
Passes are classified according to provinces and feature a text description, Fact File including GPS data, a fully interactive dual-view map and a narrated YouTube video.