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Note the incorrect spelling Note the incorrect spelling - Photo: Mike Leicester

The name of this pass translates from Afrikaans to English as “Swirling Winds Passage”, which would be typical of the weather in this area, usually hot, dry and windy. Although it is located in a fairly remote region of the Northern Cape, it is worth the time and effort it requires to get there, if you enjoy driving quiet country roads dotted about with sheep, cattle and game farms.

The poort itself is a very minor one, with only one corner and a height gain of just 16 metres, but the magnificent Karoo scenery makes up for this deficiency. The gravel road is an excellent condition and can be driven in any vehicle.

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[Video cover photo: Mike Leicester]

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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: This little poort really is in the middle of nowhere, and it is quite difficult to get to no matter which direction you use. To approach from the west, start off in Strydenburg at the intersection of Nico Barnard Street and Kerk Straat, at GPS coordinates S29.943807 E23.674090. Travel in south-easterly direction along a gravel road for 36.8 km to S30.175538 E23.922878, then turn left. Follow this road for 4.3 km to S30.169222 E23.966105, which is the western start point. To approach from the east, start off near the railway siding of Potfontein, located on the R388 at GPS coordinates S30.201252 E24.115922. Travel in a north-westerly direction for 4.2 km to S30.184708 E24.084275, then bear left. Follow this road for another 10.4 km to S30.170678 E23.978333, which is the eastern start point.

KarooWide open Karoo scenery / Photo: Mike Leicester

We have filmed the pass from east to west. Starting off from a low point marked by a farm gate on the right-hand side, the road heads purposefully towards two low koppies which form the poort along a straight of exactly 1 kilometre. After passing under the spreading branches of a huge acacia tree, the road curves through a shallow bend to the left, reaching the summit of the poort on the apex of this corner, then dips down slightly as you approach an attractive white farmhouse on the left. The farmer has inserted three large speed humps in the road to slow down traffic, in an attempt to reduce the dust kicked up by vehicles; the last of these marks the end of the pass. Please note that the speed limit through this section is 40 kph.

Painting of a Karoo shopPainting by John Kramer

Strydenburg is located astride the N12, approximately equidistant between Hopetown in the north and Britstown in the south. The approach to the little village, especially from the south, is characteristic of the bleak landscape most travellers find consistent with the usual notion of the Karoo, which is that it is boring and almost ugly. But the architecture in the town is rich and varied, with structures typical of the building styles of the last three centuries.

“Stryd” in Afrikaans means “Strife” – a literal depiction of how the town came by its name. It was laid out on the farm Roodepan in 1892 by the Dutch Reformed Church, but the community could not agree on a name for the town, and the protracted bickering eventually led someone to suggest the name Strydenburg. It attained municipal status in 1914.

The town is situated on the edge of a large pan which fills up with shallow salty water during rainy years, often attracting large flocks of flamingos. It occupies a total area of almost 38 square kilometres and is home to more than 3000 people.

Strydenburg offers complete relaxation time away from city life. There are hiking trails nearby, and visitors can also partake in canoeing and river rafting activities on the Orange River which is not very far away from the town. Beautiful views and scenery can be enjoyed on the horseback trails on offer, as well as the spectacular sunsets and amazing stargazing opportunities for which this part of the Karoo is so famous.

Text & video footage by Mike Leicester

Fact File:


S30.170678 E23.978333


S30.168759 E23.967831


S30.169222 E23.966105














1.2 km




2 minutes


40/60 kph








Strydenburg (41 km)

Route Map:

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Route files:

||Click to download: Dwarrelwindspoort  (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

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