Mountain Passes

This dynamic pass is located in the mountains to the north of Ngodwana and is a restricted road which falls under the jurisdiction of South African Paper and Pulp Industries (SAPPI). It is a big pass and covers a total of 27,6 km. The pass is tarred with an average gradient of 1:25, but there are some very steep sections at 1:5. The public are discouraged from utilising the road, but for those persistent enough, you can get a permit from the SAPPI office at Ngodwana. [Details lower down on this page] Caution: This is a dangerous road! Despite it being tarred, it has many corners with negative cross-flow. The road carries heavy trucks (SAPPI) which often use the entire road. Almost every one of its many bends has a name of a driver who has been injured or died there. Thick mountain mists bedevil the pass, sometimes reducing speed to a walking pace. There can be a temperature variant of up to 20 degrees, so take warm kit with. 

 



Read more...

The Hilltop Pass is  a wide, tarred road in good condition and is named after the farm Hilltop at the summit. The 6,24 km long pass offers beautiful views over the De Kaap Valley. The pass is located on the R40 and connects Barberton in the south with Nelspruit in the north. The pass is peppered with sharp corners, including 3 bends in excess of 120 degrees. It should be noted that there are no lay-bys to stop safely.

 

 

 

Read more...

The Koffiehoogte Pass is in reality, an extension of the lower/eastern section of the Long Tom Pass. It starts where the Long Tom Pass ends and descends continiously from just east of the Long Tom Bomb Hole historical site at an altitude of 1672m. The 5,87 km descent runs in an easterly direction towards Sabie through dense plantations. The average gradient is a stiff 1:14, with the steepest parts being at 1:8.

 





Read more...

The Hoekwil Pass is a short, steep pass connecting the mountain-top village of Hoekwil with the coastal village of Wilderness. The well designed, tarred road carries a fair amount of traffic and services both the village of Hoekwil, as well as local forestry areas and farms. Views from the pass are quite magical, revealing first the blue waters of the Indian Ocean at Wilderness with its surf-washed white beach, then the valley filled with rivers and lakes. The road has no safety shoulders, so cyclists need to be extra careful along this pass.

 

 

 

 

Read more...

This is a good quality, well engineered tarred road that starts in the north at the T-Junction with the 7 Passes Road close to the tiny hamlet of Barrington. It traverses an upper coastal plateau which is covered in forests and green pastures - perfectly suited to dairy farming. The road descends rapidly though a series of bends and one 180 degree horseshoe bend, to end just over 5 km later, at the intersection at Ruigtevlei.



 

 





 

 

Read more...

Masjiennek Pass (which translates from Afrikaans into Machine Nek Pass) is to all intents and purposes the western ascent from Lydenburg to the top of the Long Tom Pass. It starts just outside Lydenburg and climbs through 539 meters of altitude to summit at 2090m ASL after a 10,9 km traverse. This produces a comfortable average gradient of 1:20, but some sections are fairly steep at 1:8. The road is in good condition and has been well engineered. It is subject to winter snowfalls with such a high summit altitude. Together with the Koffiehoogte Pass on the eastern side of the Long Tom Pass, the trio of passes form one long continious pass between Lydenburg and Sabie.



Read more...

This very short pass in both length and altitude gained, is without doubt the shortest pass on this website with a total distance of under 1 km! It gains/loses just 42m of altitude and to cap it all, the road has no bends or curves at all.



 

 

Read more...

The Old Cape Road is located just to the north of Knysna and traverses the line of hills above the town through indigenous as well as pine and bluegum plantations. The 6.5 km long road is generally on a level gradient, with the exception of the western ascent, which is very steep. Although the average gradients are a comfortable 1:21, the climb up past Simola Golf Estate is as steep as 1:5



 

 

Read more...

This minor pass is located on the tarred R38 close to the N4 junction. It connects Louw's Creek in the south with Kaapmuiden in the north. The pass is basically a straight road cutting through a small neck through the hills and is only 3,11 km in length with an altitude gain of just 57m - it produces an average gradient of 1:20. This is a pass that if you dont know about it, you probably wouldn't even notice it. However, what it lacks in technical drama, it more than makes up for in terms of scenery. This is, after all, the lowveld and the land of the Kruger.

 

Read more...

The Saddleback Pass is located to the west of Barberton and forms part of the R40 which connects with the border post at Bulembo, Swaziland. The pass is tarred and in good condition. It climbs 609 meters in altitude over 10,4km producing an average gradient of 1:11 - This will put it in our Top 20 list of steepest passes. The steeper sections are up to 1:5!
It is as well that it is tarred. Beyond the summit and Lomati Dam, the tar continues for a further 9km, whereafter it becomes gravel and also get a name change - The Bulembu Pass. (The gravel section of the road was under construction for widening and tarring at the time of writing)

 

Read more...

This is a fairly serious gravel road pass located in the heart of the gold mining reefs, east of Barberton. We recommend a 4WD vehicle when the weather is wet as things could get very slippery in a normal car when these roads become muddy. The pass gains/loses 443m of altitude with some sections as steep as 1:6. It connects the Louw's Creek area in the north with the R40 close to Barberton in the west and services forestry, farming and gold mining activities.

 

Read more...

This fairly minor pass is located on the R539 between Machadodorp in the south west and Montrose in the east. It is the middle pass of a trio of passes on the R539, the other two being the Crossroads Pass at the start pf the R539 and the Schoemanskloof Pass 15 km further east. The 7km long pass has an altitude gain/loss of 314m and summits at 1594m ASL producing and easy average gradient of 1:20

 



Read more...

The Uitkyk Pass is more commonly called the Uitkyk Road by locals. It lies just 15km to the south of Nelspruit and provides access to several farms as well as the plantations of bluegums and pines for harvesting and maintenance. It traverses sections of the Krokodilspoort mountains in the form of a large V.



Read more...


This fairly straight-forward pass lies north of the Kwena Dam (previously known as the Braam Raubenheimer Dam) on the tarred R36 route between Machadodorp in the south-west and Lydenburg in the north-east.



Read more...

This seldom driven gem of a pass ends in a dead end with a story attached. It is frequently referred to in its Afrikaans format - Boesmanskloofpas and is also called the "Road to Nowhere". The pass connects the town of McGregor with the farm Die Galg at the summit, where it ends. However in the early 1900's there was a strong need to build a road directly from McGregor to Greyton, which is a scant 25 kms to the west. The road was subsequently built and continues over the neck (Die Galg) and then descends along the northern side of the ravine, where the road was literally hacked out of the mountainside. This proved to be an onerous and expensive project and was abandoned due to lack of funds.



 

Read more...

Welcome...

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.
 

Subscribe To Our Site!

We offer a totally free subscription. You will receive an email notification every time a new pass has been uploaded. You will also get access to registered content on our site.

 

REGISTER