Due to the 32,7 km length of this mega-pass, we have split it into three parts. Part 1 deals with the western start from the Naude famly memorial site near Rhodes to the 3,5 km mark. Naude's Nek Pass is the second highest altitude, publicly accessible pass in South Africa and is a much sought after personal trophy for pass 'hunters' to say: "I've driven it!" Zig-zagging it's way over the Southern Drakensberg, the pass is a long and slow drive with an average gradient of 1:41, but the steeper parts measure out at 1:7. Considering that the builders were not engineers, but humble farmers, the lines chosen and gradients achieved are remarkably good for the time.
The signage at various points along the pass have created a lot of confusion and some heated debate. Right at the western start there is a sign stating that the Naude's Nek is 6300 ft (1920m). This altitude is considerably lower than the actual altitude where the sign is placed, which is 2000m. From this information, we must assume that the sign was either put in the wrong spot or the measureing instruments used at the time, were not accurate. Almost immediately after this sign there is another (newer) sign with the Tenahead Lodge logo on it which claims the pass to be 8517 ft (2596m) and a third sign at the eastern view-point states that it is 2500m. This sign is correct as the altitude at the viewsite is 2500m, but this is not the summit point of the pass. The most correct of these signs is the second one, which has a 6m variance with our measurements. There are countless incorrect references in old Atlases and maps showing the altitude to be much higher - all of these are incorrect. The correct height is 2590m.