The Komsberg Pass is located approximately 40 km to the South-West of Sutherland. It is a gravel road and gets very steep in places. It has a maximum gradient of 1:3,8 (or 14.74 degrees. In wet weather (a rare occurrence) this pass will need to be driven in a 4WD vehicle.
This poort primarily serves the local farming community to the south of Calvinia in the Northern Cape's Tankwa Karoo. It is a rough gravel road that runs on the North-West/South east axis through the Keiskie Mountains. The poort is named after the mountain range through which it traverses as well as the Keiskie farm, which lies to the South east of the poort. It connects the central sheep farming town of Calvinia with Middelpos - a minute hamlet of some 6 buildings including a post office and an hotel - 60 km to the South East.
Charles' Pass is a 2.8 km rough gravel pass that connects the missionary town of Pella with the Orange River a few kilometers further North. These are rough roads in a semi-desert environment and a high clearance SUV or 'bakkie' would be the better transport option in these parts. This part of the Northern Cape appears to be burned black by the sun. There is very little vegetation and for the most part it is a desert or semi-desert region. The Orange River provides a vital resource to survival with some of the finest grapes and dates coming from this area.
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
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.
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)
Bailey's Pass (also known as Pypmaker se Poort) is an 8,89 km gravel pass located some 35 km due East of the small Namaqualand village of Kamieskroon, which is itself located on the N7 highway from Cape Town to Namibia.
This steep gravel road pass is located approximately 15 km South west of Matatiele in KZN and rises 187 vertical meters over a distance of 4,8 km through rugged mountainous scenery. The average gradient is a comfortable 1:25, with some of the steeper sections at 1:15. The pass is well designed and presents few dangers, except in wet or snow conditions.
Sani Pass is the mother of all South African mountain passes. Statistically and in every sense, it out distances, out climbs, and out performs all it's competitors with consummate ease to have become the most iconic gravel pass in SA. Situated between KZN and Lesotho the pass was built circa 1950 and remains a challenging drive in 4x4 vehicles with all the drama, scenery, bad weather and treacherous conditions expected of a pass with a summit altitude of 2876m ASL. That equates to 9400 feet and at 10,000 feet aircraft need pressurised cabins! This is high altitude stuff. Go prepared for bad weather at any time and expect snowfalls as late as October.
The Sandspruit Pass is a rough, gravel road pass in the area to the North East of the tiny settlement of Geluksburg in KZN. This is strictly a 4x4 route route - and you will need low range and good clearance as well. Some sections along the top of the mountain are badly rutted and will probably result in a recovery if the weather is wet (even in a 4x4). The pass has historical value as it was once a route used by the legendary Piet Retief.
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.