This pass is named after the Ngogo River, which flows from west to east on the southern side. Derived from Zulu, the name has been explained as an onomatopoeic rendering of water gurgling over stones, but the phrase is also used as a term of respect for an older woman. This area was especially vulnerable during the Boer struggle for independence from Britain in the 1880’s, commonly known as the First Anglo-Boer War. Decisive battles were fought in the vicinity of Volksrust at Lang’s Nek and Ingogo, followed by the Boer victory at the Battle of Majuba, where the British commander, General Colley, was fatally wounded.
Scheepersnek is a minor climb over a smallish hill with two tiny changes in direction and an altitude gain of only 64m. It is located 15 km south-west of Vryheid on the tarred R33 route. If you did not make a note of precisely where it is, this little "pass" would probably go by unnoticed. What it lacks in physical presence, it counters with some interesting battlefields history, as this is where the Battle of Scheepersnek took place on the 20th May, 1900.
This steep, tarred pass has the classic low-high-low profile rising 262m over 6 km producing an average gradient of 1:23, but many parts of this pass are at a stiff 1:7. The road, which has a summit altitude of 1351m ASL, connects Vryheid with the Black Umfolozi Valley. The pass is a mix of tar and gravel with all of the western ascent being tarred and most of the eastern descent, being gravel, except for three short tarred sections on the steepest sections most prone to water damage. The name Leeunek translates into Lions Neck.
There is some confusion with regards to the name of this pass, as many online references locate Glenluce Pass in the same place as the neighbouring Endumeni Pass, which is a few kilometres away to the east. Most of the Anglo-Boer War transcripts refer to this traverse as Uithoek Pass, and there is a fairly compelling argument that this would have been correct at the time, given that the farm “Uithoek”, which was owned by Voortrekker leader Karel Landman, is located here.
The pass is situated just to the south of the small village of Glencoe, close to Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal. The tarred road is in a good condition, and should not present problems for any vehicle.
This steep, tarred pass connects Graaff-Reinet with the village of Nieu-Bethesda. Rubidgekloof was named after the Rubidge family that have been farming in the area since 1838. It lies on a tarred road (P0605) to Nieu-Bethesda, about 35 Km North of Graaff Reinet. It has a stiff average gradient of 1:15, with the steeper parts being at 1:10. The pass has an altitude variance of 283m over 4,28 km and with a summit of 1535m, you can expect plenty of snow on this pass during the winter frontal systems.
The name of this pass translates from Afrikaans as “Help Each Other Pass”, and originates from the period of the Voortrekkers, when these hardy people had to labour their way up and down this formidable obstacle with their wagons using a double span of oxen. The pass is located on the tarred R33 between Dundee and Pomeroy. The road is in a terrible condition, with a multitude of potholes and even a couple of places where the tar has been removed altogether. There is some evidence that repairs are in progress, but as at the time of filming, it would appear that the completion of this project is still going to take a while. Avoid driving this pass at night if possible.
The Grobbelaarskloof Pass is named after a farm which is actually in the next kloof to the east. This pass is also commonly known as Colenso Heights. It descends into Colenso from the north-west and is part of the old tarred main road (R103) between Colenso and Ladysmith. The road drops just under 200m in altitude over 5.7 km producing an easy average gradient of 1:29, with the steepest parts being at 1:10. It's a fairly minor pass in the greater scheme of things, but like many of the smaller neks and passes in this area, it's jam packed with battlefields history.
Lombardskop Nek is an easy tarred traverse along the east/west axis just outside Ladysmith in KZN with a minor change in altitude of just 53m. The road routes between a series of peaks and hills which have great historical value and in this instance the peak called Lombardskop takes us back to the Battle of Lombardskop in 1899. We spend most of our research into the history of the Anglo-Boer war, rather than the technical side of this very easy drive.
This insignificant little climb up a small hill with three slight changes in direction is an officially recognized pass on government maps, despite the fact that it does not meet any of the defined requirements of a true mountain pass. This area is, of course, rich in battlefields history and most of the hills, ridges and mountains around the town of Ladysmith have a military connotation - in this case, we have Rifleman's Ridge forming the northern part of the neck, whilst a small peak called Lancer's Peak [1202m] is the highest point of a series of hills forming the southern part of the neck.
This pass lies on the tarred R68 between Melmoth in the east and Babanango in the west and traverses large commercial lumber plantations mostly above 1000m ASL. The road is quite narrow and motorists should always be wary of large logging trucks on this road, which might encroach over the barrier lines on corners, due to their size. The pass has an average gradient of 1:14 which puts it firmly into the 'steep' category. The steepest sections are at 1:7. The pass is also subject to mountain mists which can severely reduce visibility.
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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