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[Video cover photo by Trygve Roberts ]
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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: For travellers intending to drive the pass from west to east, take the turn-off from the N7 main route at GPS S30.590966 E18.007949 and head east along this road for 12 km to arrive at the eastern start of the pass. Along this approach road and in fact all the way to the summit of Langkloof Pass, there are a number of mini-summits (or heights). In the manner of the locals, these are referred to in Afrikaans as n hoog. From thepoint where the gravel road branches away from the N7, each of the mini-summits or plateaus are named as follows: Bontpaaie (gaudy roads); Remhoog ((Brake heights); Sandhoog (Sandy heights; and Bloedsmaak se hoog). This fascinating bit of local inforamtion which you won't find on any map, was sent in to us a local farmer in the Langkloof - Mr. Hugo Schreuder.
For those wanting to drive this pass from the opposite direction, please follow the directions for the northern approach to the Langkloof Pass, which immediately precedes this pass.
As one approaches the eastern side of the pass, the road can be seen ascending steeply up towards the neck in the distance. It is still a good few kilometres before one arrives at the start of the pass, which is at the crossing of a (usually dry) stream at an altitude of 510m ASL.
The climb gradient is initially around 1:16 and after 500m there is a closed farm gate. Proceed after closing the gate behind you. There is a second gate once the summit has been crested. Drive slowly through the farm and especially near the farmstead itself, which helps to keep dust levels low and it will give you a chance to respond should you come across any livestock on the road.
Many locals refer to this pass as the Bloedsmaak Pass and if you asked for directions to the Skuinshoogte Pass, you would probably get a blank look. We did some research on this name and according to a local business owner in Garies, the name comes from the mid to late 1800's when farmers urged their oxen with laden wagons up this steep pass. So hard did they have to labour, that they could taste the blood in their mouths.
You will pass the farm house at the 1,2 km point, and from this point the gradient gets progressively steeper as the road climbs the mountain in front of you. At the 1,4 km point, the road reaches its steepest gradient of 1:5 and sweeps towards the left through an S-bend, where the summit of 695m ASL is part of a blind rise, which suddenly reveals a lovely, wide view of the next valley and the distant buldings of the Doornkraal many kilometres in fromt of you.
At the 2,4 km point, soon after cresting the summit, you will arrive at the exit gate of the Bloedsmaak farm. If the gate is closed, proceed through and close it behind you. If it's open, leave it open. We always recommend tyre deflation for all gravel road driving. Not only does it provide a more comfortable ride for you and your passengers, but it also provides improved traction and therefore safety and reduces the chances of getting punctures.
The descent gradient is initially at 1:14 but eases off to around 1:30 near the end of the pass. There are only two minor bends along the descent and the pass ends at the 4,2 km mark at an altitude of 554m ASL at the crossing of a small river bed.
Just after the end of the pass, there is a multiple staggered intersection. If you're heading for the Langkloof Pass, keep left at the intersection as it sweeps through a big bend to the left. The other options are all to local farm roads, so if you intend heading that way, make sure you know where you're going and plot your GPS waypoints in before heading off into the bundu.
|GPS START||S30.593406 E18.122301|
|GPS SUMMIT||S30.584421 E18.138460|
|GPS END||S30.578600 E18.160610|
|DIRECTION - TRAVEL||East|
|TIME REQUIRED||8 minutes|
|SPEED LIMIT||60 kph|
|NEAREST TOWN||Garies (66 km)|
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- Detailed written and printable directions.
- Drag the 'little orange man' icon onto the pass for a complete 360° tiltable "street view".
||Click to download: Skuinshoogte P2943 (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google Earth and most GPS software systems)