Mountain Passes

This short and steep tarred pass connects George with the uber-cool surfing beach of Victoria Bay. The road has some dangerous bends and steep gradients and there are often pedestrians and cyclists on this road. To add to these issues, there are no safety shoulders either. The steepest gradients are 1:8 and the road ends in a dead-end.

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This is a semi-suburban old road demarcated on the government maps as an official pass. It is a straight forward fairly easy descent down a road which is a mix of gravel and tar and heads east towards Great Brak River and ends at a T-junction few kilometers later in the village.

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This pass should not be confused with its more modern cousin – the Hoogte Pass on the N2, although the new one did effectively replace the old pass. The old pass lives on and is in surprisingly good condition. It services the farming areas near George as well as the town of George itself and connects them with Great
Brak, Glentana and some smaller seaside settlements. The pass was originally built by Henry Fancourt White in 1848.

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This gravel pass connects the seaside town of Grootbrakrivier (Great Brak River) with the dairy farming coastal plateau to the north as well as being the main connecting road to the region’s biggest fresh water supply – the Wolwedans Dam. We filmed the pass in the descending mode to maximise on the scenic value. The pass carries an alternative official name - Charles Road.

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This short drive is open to the general public and leads to the large Wolwedans Dam, built by the Dept. of Water Affairs as recently as 1990 in the mountains north of the seaside village of Great Brak. The road is a mix of tar and concrete and also services a few farms in the area. The last 2 km which traverses the control area of the dam is in excellent condition and despite two very sharp hairpins and fairly steep gradients is a lovely, scenic drive and safe if you comply with the speed limits.

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This lovely gravel road traverses the mountain ridge immediately to the north of Sedgefield in the heart of the Garden Route. The 7,55 km long drive offers a wide variety of scenery including lakes, estuaries, indigenous forests and mountains, plus a birds eye view of Sedgefield itself. The careful observer might spot one of the resident fish eagles soaring the ridges.  It is possible to drive the route in a normal car, but some of the sections on the western side can get quite sandy during the summer months. The road becomes fairly busy over weekends, when the paragliding fraternity head for the summit area to launch their colourful paragliders.

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A short and very steep gravel pass that connects the tiny settlement of Rondevlei on the shores of the Bo-Langvlei in the Garden Route's Lake District with the upper coastal plateau dairy farming region and the 7 Passes Road near Bergplaas and Beervlei forestry sectors. The pass is almost always corrugated and suffers damage quickly from heavy rain due its steep gradient. It provides attractive views of the lakes in the Garden Route National Park.

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This little pass is an absolute gem, but the various signs along the road send out a strong message that it is on private land. The public accessibility and servitude status has been difficult to establish as the Ballots Bay residential area is exclusive and upmarket. Only about 30 luxurious homes grace the hillside overlooking Ballots Bay and the endless blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The road is a two spoor paved road, in good condition. It also offer access to another residential area, Carmel Valley, at a split in the road about halfway down the descent. The scenery is breathtaking, but the road is very narrow and exceptionally steep along much of its length.

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This lovely gravel pass runs along the east/west axis through the mountains between the farming areas along the R365 in the west, with the Kransvleikloof Pass to the east, near N7 close to Clanwilliam in the Sandveld region of the West Coast. The region is well known for the production of potatoes and in this kloof, with its own micro-climate, many farms also produce citrus products, similar to the Olifants River valley a few kilometers further to the east.

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This scenic gravel pass of 17 km runs along the north-south axis through an attractive koof called Kapteinskloof, through the Skurweberg mountains and connects the R399 in the south at Sauer with the R366 in the north. Its summit rises steeply to 354m at a point named Patatdraai (Potato Corner). The first part of the pass is a gradual climb, but becomes fairly steep near the summit, which offers 360 degree views from the neck.

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This short and fairly steep gravel pass is located on an isolated farm access road a few kilometers to the east of Redelinghuys in the Sandveld region. This pass is mainly used by 4x4 enthusiasts to access the Jakkalskloof 4x4 route - a tough and tricky route down steep inclines and through deep sand. The road is a dead-end, but a normal car will mange the pass to the farm house at the summit without any problems, but cars with low ground clearance might have some issues.

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The Olof Bergh Pass is an official pass. However, it is nothing more than a fairly straight line traverse over a smallish neck between two 'koppies'. It has no sharp corners and the gradients are easy. What it lacks in in terms of tight corners and steep gradients, it makes up in history and pleasant country scenery. It connects the two Sandveld towns of Redelinghuys in the north with Aurora, about 30 km to the south.

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This short, steep and scenic pass offers outstanding views with weathered rocks, waterfalls, proteas and mountain fynbos in a pristine and virtually untouched part of the Western Cape in it's far northern sector. There are two ways to access the pass. The recommended route is to drive the Gifberg Pass first from Vanrhynsdorp and descend via this (Ouberg) pass providing a superb 55km loop ending back in Vanrhynsdorp. Allow two and a half hours.

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The Kobee Pass is gravel, rough, steep and spectacular. Most of the ascent will be driven in 1st and 2nd gear. You don't need a 4WD vehicle to complete the pass, but it is an advantage. Ground clearance can be an issue with cars that are low slung. The pass rises up from the famous Knersvlakte and descends to the Koebee River valley where it splits into two directions, both ending in dead-ends at farms along the Koebee River. The scenery is quite beautiful for those who think this northern part of the Western Cape is a barren wasteland. The pass lies very close to the border between the Western and Northern Cape near the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.

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This little pass is not for the feint hearted. The maximum gradient is 1:2,7 which means low range gear ratios are essential. This pass has sky-rocketed into the number 1 slot as the steepest pass in South Africa with an average gradient of 1:6,4 It is unusual in that it only starts at the summit of the Koebee Pass, itself quite a spectacular and steep pass. It climbs up to the mountain plateau via a single hairpin, at which point some rudimentary concrete has been laid to aid with traction. The road services a single rooibos farm at the summit. Views from the top are superb with the thin ribbon of road of the Koebee Pass disappearing to the right with the Knersvlakte framed by a ring of peaks in the far distance.

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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.
 

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