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This short pass is located about 35km north of Matjiesfontein on the tarred R354 to Sutherland. The pass is safe and presents no apparent dangers if the speed limits are adhered to. The pass is located about 45 km south of the much bigger Verlatenkloof Pass. No-one seems to know who the Turck is in the name Turck se Pas (Turck's Pass).

Although the pass is relatively safe and well designed, it has some big corners, but all of them have correct cross flow and if the 80 kph speed limit, as well as barrier line restrictions are adhered to, there should be no problems. This pass also provides access to the gravel road that runs through the mountains to the east of Sutherland, which includes the triple passes of Bakenshoogte, Smoushoogte and the Komsberg Pass.

Published in The Western Cape

The Komsberg Pass is located approximately 40 km to the south-west of Sutherland. It's named after the mountain down which it traverses. It is a gravel road (P2243) and gets fairly steep in places. It has a maximum gradient of 1:5 and an average gradient of 1:13 which is produced over a distance of 3,9 km. In wet weather (a rare occurrence) or snow, this pass will need to be driven in a 4WD vehicle. Avoid it completely in heavy snow as there are some sections with negative cross-flow, which could result in a rollover.

One of the points of interest of this pass is that the official notice board at the summit gives the incorrect altitude (1721m). The correct altitude measured with a 12 sattellite GPS reading is 1654m. which concurs with the reading on Google Earth. Effectively, this makes the official board wrong by 67m. Errors like this frequently slip into official signage, but this is one of the biggest margins of error we have yet come across.

The pass mimics the line of the Verlatenkloof Pass which is 23 km to the north-west and offers a gravel descent down the same mountain range, as opposed to the much busier tarred version on the R354. As a bonus, you get to drive another two smaller passes along the same route. These are the Smoushoogte and Bakenshoogte passes.

Published in The Northern Cape

The Verlatenkloof Pass (translates into 'Desolate Pass') is a substantial altitude gaining tarred pass on the R354/R356 some 30 km south of Sutherland in the Northern Cape. It winds its way laboriously down the Roggeveld Mountains via the Verlatenkloof. It is often still referred to in the original Dutch format of Verlatenkloof Pass, but mostly the "n" has been dropped in favour of the local Afrikaans version - 'Verlatekloof''. Either version will get you to the same pass! You will descend 668 meters in altitude over 14,4 km producing an average gradient of 1:22, with the steeper parts at 1:8. This statistic makes it the 26th longest pass in South Africa as well as 10th biggest altitude gaining pass.

The pass has one or two exceptionally dangerous corners and drivers need to concentrate the whole way down and comply with the speed limits and warning signs. The pass offers wonderful Karoo views, some clever engineering, a guest farm and the geology has been laid bare through the multiple cuttings.

Published in The Northern Cape

This smallish pass of 2.8 km in length lies a few kilometers south of Sutherland in the Northern Cape on the tarred R356 route. It is named after the only farm in the kloof, which is located on the left hand side (east) of the road towards the northern end of the kloof next to a small stream. This is not a major pass, but it has a fair altitude gain and few gentle turns to compliment the scenery in the kloof. It's a fairly safe road with a good track record. If it is snowing, the usual cautionaries for snow driving apply.

Published in The Northern Cape

This 6,7 km long gravel poort is located on the R354 between Sutherland and Middelpos in the Northern Cape. It is a fairly minor poort with an altitude variance of only 82 metres and an average gradient of 1:82 which makes it a very easy drive, but be especially careful of corrugations, which can become severe towards the southern side, once the gradients flatten out next to the river bank. The pass summits at an altitude of 1251m ASL and it does sometimes get snow in winter. The steepest section just before the summit has a gradient of 1:14

This is the Karoo, where there is plenty of space and the layers of sedimentary rock that make up the mountains, provide a perfect backdrop to the vast dun coloured plains dotted with low shrubs, but good enough to sustain sheep farming. The name Oupoort simply means Old Path and relates back to the original sheep trekking routes between Sutherland and Calvinia.

Published in The Northern Cape

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