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Dewaalskloof Pass

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Restful pastoral scenery Restful pastoral scenery - Photo: Google Images

This big pass is a mixture of a pass and a poort. It's fairly long at 12,8 km and runs along the east-west axis along a valley on the northern side of the Didima Range and the Katberg Mountain. The eastern section gets steep and the first 6 km is where the bulk of the altitude is lost (or gained). This pass forms a western approach to the summit of the Katberg Pass and is a perfect approach for those wanting to drive the Katberg Pass in the descending mode. It also provides access to the summit of the Devils Bellows Pass.

The road can get very tricky in wet weather where a 4WD vehicle will be mandatory but in fair weather most 4x2 vehicles with reasonable ground clearance will manage the road. You will be treated to excellent high altitude scenery. The usual gravel road cautionaries apply - Mountain mists with low visibility, electrical storms in summer, high rainfall, snow in winter, rockfalls, washaways, deep ruts, loose rocks and stones, livestock on the road.

This is a provisional video consisting entirely of Google earth 3D animations, designed to orienteer drivers with the salient features of the pass. This pass will be filmed in real time in the near future. 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 photo by Google Images]

FULL-SCREEN MODEMODE: Click PLAY, then pass your mouse over the bottom right corner of the video screen. The outline of a square will appear. Clicking on it will toggle Full Screen Mode. Press ESC to return to the original format.

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:

Getting there: To approach from the east (the direction which we have produced it), please read up on the Katberg Pass for accurate directions. At the summit of the Katberg Pass there is an intersection at S32.443759 E26.646624 where you must turn sharp left (west).

To approach from the west (in the ascending mode), drive north-east from Fort Beaufort on the R67 for 12 km and turn left (north) at GPS S32.704724 E26.587980. Drive the Blinkwater Pass (use the hyperlink provided for full details) and at the summit point intersection at GPS S32.577328 E26.517467 make sure you turn right. Now head east and later NNE for 11,5 km to arrive at a Y-junction at GPS S32.486684 E26.523633 where you must keep right. The road soon turns into the ENE for 4 km where you will arrive at the western start of the pass.

A rural valleyA slow and relaxing route / Photo: Google Images

Pass Description: This description is in the descending mode from east to west. For those driving this pass from this direction, will have completed either the Katberg Pass or the Devils Bellows Pass. The views from the eastern start towards the east over the deep clefts and green ridges of the Katbberg State Forest are indescribably beautiful. If the weather is clear, this is a wonderful spot to linger awhile and clear your mind or have a picnic.

From the eastern start the road begins descending immediately and gets progressively steeper as distance is made. The gradients soon reach 1:7 and remain steep for the next 6 km. This is by far the most technical section of the pass and drivers need to be alert to the dangers present.

Depending on recent rainfall, the road condition can range from reasonable to almost impassable. The norm is that the worst sections will be near the summit, so at least you can rest assured that things will improve. The first 6 km contain 36 bends, corners and curves, but none of them exceed 90 degrees arc.

Nguni cattleCattle farming country / Photo: Waylands farmstay

The first three km is rough and ready, but at the 3,3 km mark, the bends and gradients ease off a bit and a farm can be seen lower down in the valley on the right. This is the Stonehouse farm and if you're travelling alone, it might be prudent to amrk the entrance to this farm in case you have an emergency, as it's the closest inhabited farm at the common summit points of Dewaalskloof, Devils Bellows and the Katberg passes - all of which are 4x4 only passes.

At the 5,5 km mark, the road dips down through a small plateau area and changes heading into the south. Here the next two (smaller) farms can be found on the right (north). They are Rocky Ridge and Golden Glen farms. Once past these two farms, the road descends rapidly to cross the Koonap River at the 6,4 km point. On your left is the Waterside farm, close to the river bank.

As the road clears the river course there is a sharp right bend of 120 degrees, where the next farm called Waybank, makes an appearance on the left. Once you reach this point of the pass, the second half is much easier with fewer corners and more gentle gradients.

The heading settles down into the south-west as the road remains on the southern side of the river. Towering mountains hem the valley in on both sides and the feeling of peace and isolation is palpable here. Soon the next three farms appear. Waylands farm is on the left at the 10,2 km mark, followed by the Wheatlands farm at the 11,4 km point. The final farm, called Riet Vlei is on the left at the 12,2 km mark close to the western end of the pass. This last farm has an interesting 4x4 route, which can be clearly seen on Google Earth and contains some dramatic switchbacks. If you're in the right vehicle and enjoy these 4x4 routes, why not stop in at the farm and make inquiries.

The pass ends at the 12,8 km mark at an altitude of 1093m adjacent to a farm dam right next to the road on the right hand side. To work your way to Fort Beaufort, please use your western approach directions near the top of this page, but remember to invert everything. (ie. A left turn becomes a right turn, etc.)

 


Fact File:

GPS START

S32.443759 E26.646624

GPS SUMMIT

S32.443759 E26.646624

GPS END

S32.475797 E26.557715

AVE GRADIENT

1:24

MAX GRADIENT

1:7

ELEVATION START

1625m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

1625m

ELEVATION END

1093m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

532m

DISTANCE

12,8 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

West

TIME REQUIRED

20 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

60 kph

SURFACE

Gravel

DATE FILMED

20.11.2018

TEMPERATURE

24C

NEAREST TOWN

Seymore (28 km)


Route Map:

Use these powerful features to get the best use out of the map:

  • Choose either Map View or Satellite View (overlaid on the map detail.)
  • Zoom in and out; rotate in any direction.
  • Use the Get Route'feature (directly beneath the map): type in your address to get a personalised route straight from where you are to the pass, with time and distance included.
  • Detailed written and printable directions.
  • Drag the 'little orange man' icon onto the pass for a complete 360° tiltable "street view".

From Address:


Route files:

||Click to download: Dewaalskloof Pass (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

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