This beautiful, long, tarred pass winds it's down the escarpment on the R533 between Graskop in the east and Pilgrim's Rest in the west. The scenery is breathtaking, with forests, waterfalls, ghost towns, old mines and birdlife in abundance. This is a fairly steep pass, especially on the eastern side with gradients around 1:10.
With 59 bends, corners and curves, drivers need to stay alert and be particularly wary of oncoming vehicles appearing on the wrong side of the road on some of the blind corners. The single, continuous barrier line is badly faded which adds to some drivers essentially ignoring the overtaking restrictions. Having no safety shoulders and dense vegeattion which grows right up to the tarmac, adds to the dangers. There are a number of cautionaries for this pass which include a fairly narrow, shoulderless surface with the occasional pothole, some extremely sharp corners, negative banking, rain, dense mountain mists as well as heavy trucks and minibus taxis that use the road. To add to this the pass offers hardly any opportunities for overtaking. Drivers who end up behind slow moving trucks, tend to become frustrated and end up taking huge risks, which can results in a head on collision. There are very few places to stop safely.
This long tarred pass offers diverse scenery through an area steeped in history and of course, stories of robbers of those who found gold in the area. There is the famous Robbers Grave which can be visited near the pass at Pilgrims Rest - a village inextricably linked to the pioneering days of the discovery of gold. Once a flourishing town, it is today a small village offering tourists a glimpse into a bygone era. Pilgrims Rest and the aptly named Robbers Pass are historically bound like a set of twins.
This is a long pass of 20,6 km which includes a summit height of 1789m ASL and 68 bends, corners and curves to keep drivers honest. The usual cautionaries apply which include heavy mountain mists, high rainfall, logging and mining trucks, potholes and impatient drivers who disobey the barrier lines.
This is another of the Top 10 Mpumalanga passes with stunning views and an altitude drop of 512m through the Drakensberg escarpment over 7,8 km., producing an average gradient of 1:15. This is a steep pass in places with gradients in excess of 1:11 and is on route R533. It was was completed in October 1959 and named after a local Sotho chief, Koveni who controlled the land along the track. The name, Koveni, became Anglicized to Kowyn. The area around the pass is truly 'out of this world' with a wide range of attractions for the traveller.
At the time of its original construction, the engineering work on this pass was one of the most advanced in South Africa with the half tunnel and cantilevered roadway with a concrete surface forming a stable structure near the summit ridge. Today (2018) the once proud pass is taking strain where many potholes have made an appearance. The Mpumalanga roads authorities appear to have no funds to appear the road and potholes are being filled with gravel (which obviously only lasts till the next rainshower). Drive carefully on this pass which is prone to thick mountain mists, but the biggest danger is opposing traffic that crosses the median line in an effort to avoid the potholes.
This gravel road pass runs on the North/South axis through the Soutpansberg Mountains about 40 km. due West of Louis Trichardt. The pass is an out and back route starting at the R523 in the vicinty of Waterpoort and is exceptionally scenic as it approximates the course of the gorge cut by the Sand Rivier. This is strictly an off road pass and not suitable for non 4x4 vehicles.
Please read the footnote at the bottom of this page regarding access as at November, 2014
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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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