Cat's Pass (Transkei)

Read 4972 times
Scenery near Cats Pass Scenery near Cats Pass - Photo: Roddy Bray

Cat's Pass can be found on the gravel road between Butterworth and tiny coastal resort of Mazeppa Bay. The pass is a typical Transkei road of dubious quality and should be driven with care - especially in terms of livestock, minibus taxis, dogs and children on the roads, where most of the rural lands are unfenced.

The pass contains 22 bends, corners and curves within its 6,5 km length and offers sweeping views over forest clad hills and green valleys on both sides of the road. None of the corners are too sharp, but it is rather the nature of the road surface which will determine the speed you are able to travel. There are some sections which get as steep as 1:7. There are four distinct summit points along the pass of which the first one is the true summit.

Scroll down to view the map & video. This video consists entirely of Google Earth animations and serves to orienteer first time drivers of this pass. 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: CamboAdventures]

FULL-SCREEN MODE: 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: There are two ways to approach this pass from the west. The more complex option is via Kei River Mouth and Kentani (which we suggest is attempted by those more familiar with the area) and the more direct approach is from just north of Butterworth off the N2.

mazeppa bay near cats pass for great fishingThe village of Mazeppa Bay with its world class rock angling is near Cats Pass. This angler landed this whopping bronze shark / Photo: FishingEC.comTurn SE off the N2 onto the Mazeppa Bay Road at GPS S32.289632 E28.211881. Drive for 6 km to arrive at the first of three forks. Keep left at GPS S32.332459 E28.240808. Drive for 20 km still heading south-east to arrive at the second fork at GPS S32.419655 E28.379298 where you must keep left. Drive for another 3 km to arrive at the third fork at GPS S32.424403 E28.402487 where you must keep left once again. This fork marks the start of the pass.

As this is a dead-end road, we have not provided directions to approach from the east. Once you return from Mazeppa Bay, you will automatically recross the pass from east to west.

The pass is 6,5 km long and rises and falls through 99 meters producing a very gentle average gradient of just 1:65, although there are one or two sections which are as steep as 1:7.

From the N2 you will enter the town of Butterworth, orginally the centre of dairy farming in the region. Just north of Butterworth there is the Ibika Forest Reserve with beautiful walks on offer. The road winds its way through the tribal trust land, dotted with traditional, colourful, thatched mud huts. Towards the eastern end of the pass there is another fork, where you must keep right. This fork is followed by a very sharp right hand bend. On the left hand side there is a large complex of buildings, which is the Thafa Lofefe hospital. Another 20 kms beyond the pass, the road terminates south of the Qora River at Mazeppa Bay, which has a very old (and welcoming) hotel with excellent beaches and sublime surf and river fishing on offer.

Mazeppa Bay derives its name from the ship, the Mazeppa. The ship was captained by a CJ Cato, on its way to Delagoa Bay from Port Natal in search of a British man-of war to rescue the garrison, which had been besieged by the Boers. The captain steered the ship into what is now known as Mazeppa Bay for shelter and ran aground. Legend has it that its ruins are buried under the sand dunes at Mazeppa Bay.

Fact File:


S32.424386 E28.402735


S32.429929 E28.413568


S32.426058 E28.465480














6.5 km




15 minutes


60 kph








Butterworth (29 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: Cat's Pass (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google Earth and most GPS software systems)

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter with News and Updates from Mountain Passes South Africa

Subscribe to our Site

Subscribe for only R350 a year (or R250 for 6 months), and get full access to our website including the videos, the full text of all mountain passes articles, fact-file, interactive map, directions and route files.



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.

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.

View Master Orientation Map...