If you didn't know it had a name, this little poort (wisely listed in the Afrikaans diminutive, so as not to be taken seriously) would be gone in the blink of an eye and you would be none the wiser. Some maps and references also call this poort "Die Poort se Nek" This is about as obscure as any pass can get. It lies on a remote gravel road (the P2259) about 40 km due east of Sutherland. It is of some significance in that together with its sister poort (Bloupoort) a few kilometers to the west, these two little poorts are important landmarks on your journey to the fabulous Karelskraal Pass a little further on.
This gem of a pass is a well hidden secret, which lies in an isolated valley to the north of the Klipbokkrans and Baviaansberg mountains [1946m] and follows the natural kloof formed to the south of the Grasberg mountain [1638m]. It lies on the east/west axis and at 16,1 km is quite a long pass. It's not only long in terms of distance, but in time too. You will need at least 1,5 hours to complete the kloof itself and that excludes the southern return leg over many kilomters of farm roads. Multiple farm gates added to a fairly dodgy road, which can be in various states of disrepair, all add to the remote and rugged allure. It's best done in a 4x4 or at least a "bakkie" with good ground clearance and diff-lock. Despite the average gradient being an easy 1:30, there are some very steep parts, especially near the summit which reach 1:6. During winter and after rain, there are multiple river crossings to negotiate, none of which are crossed over any bridges. The rewards however, are magnificent.
The Buffelshoek Pass should be viewed in conjunction with the Middelberg Pass as it is to all intents and purposes the southern half of the Middelberg Pass. The pass takes its name from the nearby Buffelshoek farming area. The pass is gravel and generally maintained to a good standard. It offers easy gradients over the first half, then things change quite dramatically near the summit in the form of a double switchback, where fabulous views open up over the valley - views that stretch back to the south as far as the eye can see in a blend of greenery and rugged mountains in winter. It does sometimes snow on the pass. During the summer months, it is hot and dry.
This pass is in reality just the initial climb leading from the Dwyka river to the start of the Rammelkop Pass. There are many references to the two passes being one pass, but the initial part of the climb traverses the farm Allemanshoek, thus causing plenty of confusion. To keep things simple, we have treated these as two separate passes.
The Karoo Poort is a very old route followed by the first settlers, and together with the Hottentot Kloof, formed the only route to the north (and the Karoo) from Cape Town through Ceres. The road is a typical poort, with easy gradients, following the course of a (mainly dry) river-bed through a natural gap in the mountains. The pass is gravel, except for a small section of just over a kilometer and a half, where the tarring was no doubt done to protect the Karoopoort farm orchards from dust. The original old farmstead is on the left hand side of the road (west) and looking its age these days. It is the only farm in the poort.
Incredibly this magnificent gravel pass is not officially named by any government authority at the time of writing. The well designed pass twists and turns its way laboriously through 738 meters of altitude through the mountains just two kilometers from the Swaziland border to summit at a T-junction with the R40 south of Barberton. In terms of altitude gained, this pass will slot in at the 14th highest nationally. The pass provides dramatic views of towering mountains and green valleys and takes us past an old forgotten mining town - Diepgezet. In dry weather the pass can be driven in a 4x2 "bakkie", but good ground clearance is important. In wet weather, we recommend a 4x4. ~ The information on this pass as well as some photographs were submitted by Andre van Dyk.
This short, steep gravel pass is located approxmately 6 km north-east of Lydenburg. This is a rough gravel road only suitable for 4WD vehicles with good ground clearance. It carries almost no traffic and the condition can vary greatly depending on recent weather patterns. The start is awkward to find and the access route we are suggesting is one of several options possible. We recommend you carefully study the map and the Google earth imagery as well as make sure you have all the GPS waypoints on your GPS.
This pass lies 12km to the NE of Lydenburg. Translated it means Gold Fields Pass. It is a gravel pass but is generally maintained to a reasonable level and will be suitable for most vehicles in dry weather. Like all gravel roads, they can quickly deteriorate in rainy weather and become slippery,muddy, corrugated and potholed. The pass traverses a narrow valley bisected by the Spekboomrivier, which boasts two classically designed high arched, stone bridges along it's course. The valley opens up progressively towards the south-east. This is a dead end road and as a consequence usually only has local traffic on it.
Mount Carmel pass is a long gravel road climbing 310 vertical meters through the Mount Carmel range of the Drakensberg. It is located about 25 km north-west of Nelspruit on the D1054. The road connects several farms around Schagen and is mainly used by farmers and forestry vehicles. A vehicle with good ground clearance will cope better with this road, which traverses the beautiful valley through the Mount Carmel Conservancy.
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
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