The Northern Cape

This is the second of the more serious passes in the Richtersveld National Park. Only 4WD vehicles with good ground clearance will cope with conditions in the Richtersveld, with the biggest obstacle being soft sand.

The Akkedis Pass (Eng. Lizard Pass) together with the Swartpoort and Halfmens Pass, connects the main entry point at Sendelingsdrif with the central and northern sector of the park. The scenery is truly magnificent and along this entire pass you are fully immersed in a true mountain desert. It takes a good 40 minutes to drive this pass and there are some sections on the northern ascent where low range should be utilised. The pass is 6 km long and climbs through 169m to summit at 578m ASL, producing an average gradient of 1:36, but there are several short sections that get as steep as 1:5.

This poort is the for more serious pass hunter. It's is a rough, two-spoor jeep track suitable for high clearance 4x4 vehicles only. The 7,7 km long poort sweeps in and around several low mountains in the far north-eastern segment of Namaqualand. This is a quintesessential 'road to nowhere'. Carry two spare wheels and be prepared for any emergency on this desolate and lonely road. The poort descends a total of 94m producing typically easy poort type gradients of 1:82 with even the steepest parts being a fairly mild 1:20.

This very short and fairly minor 'pass' is nothing more than a slight bump in the flat Karoo topography and is located about midway between Fraserburg and Loxton in the Northern Cape, just off the R356 on a minor gravel road that connects the R356 with the R361. The spelling of this pass is baffling and we are convinced that it's a spelling mistake which has been carried forward over the years and has now become fact. The correct name is no doubt Amandelhoogte, which makes a lot more sense. In a bizarre way, the odd spelling is probably a good thing, as there is an Amandelnek Pass in the Tankwa Karoo, which would be bound to cause confusion.

On a minor gravel road between Ceres and Sutherland, this minor pass caused our team many hours of frustrating research, due to the fact that it appears in the incorrect place on most maps - including some very official ones! When we went to film this pass, we found nothing even vaguely resembling a poort or a pass at the designated place. We finally tracked it down on the 1:50,000 Government Raster maps by accident whilst scouring for another pass in the area. So finally, we have the Amandelnek Pass pinned down and properly mapped. The records show that was built by Thomas Bain in 1858.

 



The Anenous Pass dates back to the late 1800's. Remnants of the old pass can still be seen running along a lower contour than the modern, new tarred pass, which has a much better gradient.This is a smooth, sweeping well engineered pass built to modern standards on the tarred R382 route linking Steinkopf with Port Nolloth. The high quality of the road can be attributed to the considered importance of mining in the area.

Baillie's Pass is a minor gravel pass with major historical value, located some 35 km due east of the small Namaqualand village of Kamieskroon, which is itself located on the N7 highway from Cape Town to Namibia. The pass was built by the Reverend John A. Baillie from 1853 1863 to enable his parishioners to attend his church. The pass is just 1,8 km long but climbs quite steeply at gradients as steep as 1:6 over a nek in the granite smothered ridges. The road is generally maintained to a reasonable level, but corrugations and hanging dust are often problematic in this area. The road is suitable for all vehicles. The old hand-built supporting stone walls of the original pass can still be clearly seen on the right hand side (east) of the road.

Many respected resources on the internet list Baillie's Pass (Bailey's Pass sic) with Pypmaker se Poort in brackets as the alternative name. This is completely incorrect, as Pypmaker se Poort, although fairly close to Baillie's Pass, is on a different road altogether. The only site that got this one right, is Tracks4Africa. Also note the correct spelling of Baillie. Most sites also show this pass as being about 6 km long, which is also incorrect.

This smallish gravel pass is located on a gravel road that starts and ends at two different points on the  R354 between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland. It provides an interesting alternative to the Verlatenkloof Pass route, but is longer and slower. This gravel road traverses three passes in a long right hand loop to the east before it rejoins the R354 near the summit of the Verlatenkloof Pass. The three passes include this pass (Bakenshoogte), Smoushoogte and the much bigger Komsberg Pass.
Bakenshoogte translates into Beacon Heights.

The Bastersnek pass is also sometimes called the Bastershoek Pass. It is named after the farm through which it passes, called Bastard's Neck.  No-one knows which bastard had his neck on a block to have attained such notoriety, but the name does allow the imagination to run roit! This is one of the shortest passes in South Africa at just  1.18 km and it only rises 42 vertical meters, giving an average gradient of 1:28 - but then, this is the Great Karoo where things tend to be flat and wide.

This rough, gravel road pass runs through a cleft on the East/West axis through the Langberg Mountains in a remote part of the arid Northern Cape. The Bergenaarspad Pass is named after the farm of the same name which lies just to the east of the Langberg mountain range . Roughly translated it means 'The road of the mountain people' We strongly recommend either a 4x4 to drive this route or a high clearance 'bakkie'.

The Bloukrans Pass on the R355 some 20 km south of Calvinia, is one of four Bloukrans Passes in South Africa. It is named after the majestic Bloukransberge over which foothills the pass traverses. This is a safe, well designed road in all, but very wet conditions and snow does sometimes fall on the pass's upper reaches (1029m ASL)

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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.
 

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.

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