Magoebaskloof (R71)

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Magoebaskloof fishing Magoebaskloof fishing - Photo: Wikimedia

This is one of the great classic passes of Limpopo province. It has less than 20 passes in total, but amongst those  are some of the finest scenic passes in the land. This pass climbs 446 vertical meters to summit at 1400m ASL producing an average gradient of 1:17 with the steepest parts being at 1:9. The pass is tarred and is suitable for all vehicles.

Scroll down to view the map & video. It is recommended to watch this video in HD. (Click on the "quality" button on the lower taskbar of the video screen and select 720HD.) Wait a few seconds for the video to display.....


[Video cover pic: Afro-montane forests in Magoebaskloof / Photo: Hougaard Malan]

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Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.

Digging into the details:

Starting on the Eastern approach n the tarred R71 route, the pass starts at an elevation of 954m ASL amongst sub-tropical vegetation with cycads, palms and waterfalls in abundance. The lush mountain scenery is a photographers dream and there are a range of guest cottages in the kloof.
Waterfall in MagoebaskloofThere are many waterfalls in the Magoebaskloof / Photo courtesy of Quentin H.

Halfway up the mountain, you will find the popular Magoesbaskloof Rest Camp, which features panoramic views over the Lowveld from thatched rondawel type accommodation, set in lovely gardens.

The summit of the pass is at a lofty 1400m altitude and there is often mist and cloud here, so drive with caution. In the video clip, the Google satellite imagery is seldom captured from the sattelite when there is cloud about, which highlights the frequency of cloud on this mountain. Don't take this pass lightly as there have been many fatal accidents over the years. Drive with due caution and switch your lights on at all times.

The kloof is an adventurers hotspot with hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, white water canoeing, zip-slides and canopy tours being on offer.

Some 15km further to the West is the small town of Haenertsburg, whilst Tzaneen lies 70km to the East. Magoebaskloof is a beautiful mountainous area in the Limpopo Province at the very North Eastern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range. Fondly called "The Land of the Silver Mist" by historians and locals alike, the mountains and valleys of the area are regularly shrouded in a soft mist. This mist belt has resulted in the lush afro-montane forests that make the area a welcome green oasis in the Limpopo bushveld. The name means Magoeba's Valley, but the Magoebaskloof is in fact a series of valleys named after a tribal chief who had his head chopped off by warriors serving under Boer commander Abel Erasmus in 1895.

The indigenous forest is thick and tangled, full of liana's, fungi, ferns, and spliced by crystal clear streams that flow through rocks pools. It is home to Woodbush State Forest, the largest indigenous forest in Limpopo Province, De Hoek plantation, Dap Naude Dam and the spectacular Debegeni Falls.

Zip-slide in the kloofTry your hand at Zip-sliding! / Photo courtesy of
These forests host popular birding, hiking and mountain biking routes and a strange rock that makes a sound like a gong when you hit it and is called The Crying Rock. Picnic sites are available at Dap Naude Dam and Debengeni Falls.

As a result of the climate the area has become home to commercial forestry plantations of pine and eucalyptus and various fruits including avocados, raspberries, blue berries and kiwi fruit. It has also allowed the development of ornamental gardens, open to the public, hosting plants more suited to colder climates like Japanese maples and flowering cherry trees and azaleas. These gardens are spectacular in Spring and Autumn when the vibrant colours are on display.

The Magoebaskloof Pass runs between the towns of Tzaneen and Haenertsburg on the R71and offer stunning views over the kloof. The pass leads from the highveld down the escarpment to the sub-tropical Lowveld, dropping about 600m over a distance of just 6km. (Some info courtesy Magoebaskloof Tourism)

Fact File:


S23.855451 E30.021179


S23.885921 E29.994909


S23.885921 E29.994909














7,6 km




20 minutes


40 - 80 kph


Tar (R71)




16C max / 7C min


Haenertsburg (15 km)

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Mountain Passes South Africa

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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