This is one of those official passes that barely resembles the normal characteristics of a true mountain pass. It is little more than an easy gravel road along a prominent ridge to the south west of Riversdale.
It is 4.3 km long and takes just 4 minutes to drive with a total altiutde variance of 90 metres. The road has very few dangers with perhaps the biggest being the speed at which the local farmers drive.
However the nearby town of Riversdale is full of history and points of interest. This flourishing farming town is the epicentre for farmers along the coastal hinterland between Mossel Bay and Swellendam.
This steep gravel pass descends/ascends the northern end of the Nardousberg mountain - a north/south oriented range to the east of the Olifants River, approximately 40 km north of Clanwilliam. It is the final section of the road that connects the main gravel road to the Bushmans Cave Amphitheatre to the gravel (R363) road on the east side of the Olifants River. The road is maintained to a good standard and providing speed limits are adhered to, all traffic should manage this pass comfortably.
This long gravel route forms an interesting option for off-road explorers who want to drive Gysmanshoek Pass as well as this one. At 15.5 km it's a fairly long drive which takes almost an hour due to the state of the road and the 7 farm gates which must be closed behind you.
This is a road for less hurried traveller. You will be spoilt with fine scenery, technical driving and a feeling of isolation. If you're short of time, rather give this one a miss.
The route traverses four farms and sports 70 bends corners and curves, ranging from easy all the way through to extremely tight. There are at least two corners with arcs greater than 120 degrees.
We recommend driving the route with at least one other vehicle in case of an emergency or breakdown, as you are unlikely to see another vehicle on this route the entire day.
This 9 km tarred road connects the seaside village of Brenton-on-Sea with the N2 at the main bridge over the Knysna Lagoon. The road is in good condition and offers a varienty of enchanting Garden Route views which include the eastern perspective of the lagoon from high above Belvidere Estate and a summit view westwards over Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbaai) with its 7 km long beach sweeping back away from Brenton on Sea towards Walker Point. The pass is suitable for all vehicles and presents few dangers providing speed limits and barrier lines are adhered to.
The Buffelshoek Pass should be viewed in conjunction with the Middelberg Pass as it is to all intents and purposes the southern half of the Middelberg Pass. The pass takes its name from the nearby Buffelshoek farming area and translates from Afrikaans into 'Buffalo Corner' undoubtedly relating to the presence of buffaloes here in the 1800's. The pass is gravel and generally maintained to a good standard. It offers fabulous views over the valley when driven from north to south (descending) - views that stretch back to the south as far as the eye can see in a blend of greenery and rugged mountains. It does sometimes snow on the pass, but during the summer months, it is hot and dry.
The pass compresses 30 bends, corners and curves into its 5,3 km length ranging from gentle curves to some extremely tight hairpins. Most of the steeper parts are in the upper reaches of the pass which also include most of the sharper corners, whilst the lower part of the pass through the farming area is much milder in terms of severity of bends and easier gradients. The pass is suitable for all cars, but be warned the surface can be rutted and rough at times, depending on when it was last maintained. We strongly recommend tyre deflation by at least 20% for any vehicle driving the pass.
Originally known as the Koo Pass (serving the fruit-growing region known as the Koo Valley), it was renamed after a local town councillor, Mr. Burger, who expended a lot of energy to influence the authorities to upgrade the road. 'KOO' products have stocked the cupboards of South African families for over 80 years'!
The pass was originally plotted byThomas Bain and constructed by the Divisional Council in 1876, when construction stopped due to a lack of funds and was finally completed in 1887 at a cost of 1000 Pounds Sterling.
Despite the modern engineering this pass has a combination of dangers - from long momentum gathering straights, to very sharp corners. Drive this one with a sense of vigilance.
This seldom driven gem of a pass ends in a dead end with a story attached. It is frequently referred to in its Afrikaans format - Boesmanskloofpas and is also called the "Road to Nowhere". The pass connects the town of McGregor with the farm Die Galg at the summit, where it ends. However in the early 1900's there was a strong need to build a road directly from McGregor to Greyton, which is a scant 25 kms to the west. The road was subsequently built and continues over the neck (Die Galg) and then descends along the northern side of the ravine, where the road was literally hacked out of the mountainside. This proved to be an onerous and expensive project and was abandoned due to lack of funds.
Camps Bay Drive is a tricky road, where your attention will be devided between the amazing views of mountain and sea juxtaposed against trying to get your vehicle around the many dangerous corners on this road. Many of these have negative cross-flow, which is bad news for speed and maybe this is a good thing, as this is a busy road carrying heavy traffic. It is a road that has developed over a period of 200 years, with the upper quarter being a modern four lane road, but the bottom three quarters is narrow, bumpy and very twisty. The road descends from Kloof nek at 234m ASL all the way down to the coast at 11m ASL, producing an average gradient of 1:18, but some of the sections are as steep as 1:7
An easy tarred pass on the R364 that traverses the Carstenberg mountain and connects Clanwilliam with the West Coast towns of Graafwater and Lamberts Bay. The pass rises 291m over 10,1km producing an easy average gradient of 1:35 with the steepest part being at 1:11. The road is in good condition (2015) and presents few dangers providing speed limits and barrier lines are complied with. This area does get coastal fog on occasion in which case speed needs to be adapted according to visibility and stopping distance.
Chapman's Peak Drive dates back to the early 1900's and is without question one of Cape Town's Top 10 tourist destinations. Its popularity is due to the incredible scenery on offer, viewed from a road which has been been literally hewn out of the almost vertical cliff faces on the Cape Peninsula's western side.
The 10 km long pass connects Hout Bay in the north with Noordhoek in the south and was converted into a toll road in 2003 to cover the high costs of maintaining the road to a safe standard. Along its length you will drive through more than 80 bends, corners and curves and see some impressive modern engineering, including massive steel catch nets and two semi-tunnels. Many sections of unstable rock-face have been reinforced with shotcrete.
This pass is loaded with drama and history dating back to 1910 and is best appreciated driven slowly. It must have seemed an impossible task building a road on such an inhospitable and dangerous cliff face, but the road building pioneers did the job!
The more observant viewers will notice that we have not included our standard vertical profile nor simulated fly-past clips in the first video. The reason for this is that Google Earth simply cannot 'read' the road correctly and the results are too distorted to provide an accurate simulation. This is the only pass in South Africa, where this has occurred.
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.
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