This rough gravel road is enjoyed by mountain bikers and adventure motor cyclists, as it is quite challenging in some sections with a variety of road conditions which can vary greatly depending on the time of year. It connects the Bot River estuary farming area with the R320, as well as with the Karwyderskraal farm on the mountain plateau. It also services the farms on the eastern side near the Hemel en Aarde valley. It offers locals a distinct shortcut for those wanting to avoid the congestion on the R43 to Hermanus and Onrus.
Also known as the Dr. Lapa Munnik Pass, this rough, gravel pass is sited between Barkly Pass and Ugie, in the vicinity of Barkly East. The rugged mountains and deep, green valleys of the Southern Drakensberg are strongly reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, with icy winters and mild summers. This is the only pass in South Africa named after a minister of Public Health. Please note that you need a proper 4x4 vehicle with low range & high ground clearance to complete this pass.
The Rooiberg Pass was built in 1928 and there appears to be scant information as to who the designer was. It joins the tiny village of van Wyksdorp with Calitzdorp over the Rooiberg Mountain. This is not a pass to be trifled with and it is often only negotiable in a 4WD vehicle depending on the condition of the road. It is also a long pass at 18 km with a level section in the middle. All these considered, it is one you simply have to drive once in your life. We gave this pass a Top 40 rating.
The Jan Muller Pass is not an official pass, but the bridge over the Gouritz River is named after a certain Jan Muller. For want of a better or more appropriate name, we thought Jan Muller's Pass or the Gouritz River Pass would fit fairly well. This rugged gravel road pass is fairly short at 3,63km and descends in a series of tight switchbacks from the eastern approach to cross the Gouritz River over a low level concrete bridge (which is subject to regular flooding). The western ascent is very steep with a gradient of 1:3, but the authorities have concrete-stripped this section allowing for good traction. It makes the road driveable in a normal car.
This thoroughly enjoyable and fairly long pass of 19 km straddles the Vreysrant Mountains between Herbertsdale and Van Wyksdorp. The road is generally well maintained to a high standard, despite the gravel surface. The northern section can get quite narrow at times, but should present no problems providing speed limits are adhered to. There are at least half a dozen river crossings over low level culverts, which can be dangerous if the rivers come down in flood - as was the case just one week prior to us filming. In the video clip there is ample evidence of fresh repair work and it can be seen just how high these rivers can get. Poor judgement or ego driven decisions could be fatal. If you are not prepared to walk it, then dont drive it.
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.
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