Doringkloof Pass (MR00363)

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The road is quite narrow in places The road is quite narrow in places - Photo: Trygve Roberts

This relatively unknown pass is located on the farm road designated MR00363 between the Swartberg Pass and Calitzdorp, just to the east of the Kruisrivier settlement. It offers marvellous scenery with the mighty Swartberg Range looming ever present to the north. With a moderate length of 4.7 km and an equally modest altitude gain of 156m it produces an easy average gradient of 1:30 but there are a few sections that do ramp up 1:8.

There are a number of passes to the north-east of Calitzdorp which mainly follow the many river courses that flow down from the Swartberg Mountains. These include the Kruisrivierpoort, Huis se Hoogte, and Coetzees Poort. There are a number of cautionaries for this pass, despite it's modest statistics. These inlclude some very sharp corners, steep drop offs, loose gravel on the corners, ruts and washaways as well as a strong possibility of finding livestock on the road.

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[Video cover photo: 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: To approach from the east (as we have produced it), turn west off the tarred R328 at the foot of the Swartberg Pass (just after/before Balie's Gat) onto gravel at GPS S33.391966 E22.109047. DRive west on the MR00363 for 13 km to arrive at the eastern start of the Doringkloof Pass, which is easy to find as the tar ends and gives way to gravel at this point.

To approach from the west, you have several options.

(1) Head north out of Calitzdorp along Calitz Street and drive past the Calitzdorp Dam (6 km) then continue heading north-east for a further 22 km to arrive at the Kruisrivier village. Turn left onto the MR00363 and head east for 9 km to arrive at the western start of the pass.

(2) Head east from Calitzdorp on the tarred R62 for 14 km and turn left (north) at GPS S33.544291 E21.824617 towards Buffelskloof farm. Drive north for 16 km to arrive at the Kruisrivier village. Turn right (east) and drive for 9 km to arrive at the western start of the pass.

Starting in the east at the point where the tar ends, the road crosses a small river, then begins climbing out the valley via a set of three S-bends. This first kilometre is easily the most technical part of the pass and the gradient ranges between 1:10 and 1:16.

The views down into the ravine on the right is expansive and many good photographic opportunities present themselves on this first section if the light is right. This first part of the pass traverses the farm Vinknesrivier and there are often pedestrians, farm animals and children near the eastern end of the pass.

Doringkloof PassA perfect back country road / Photo: Trygve Roberts

At the 1 km point, the gradient eases right off as a flatter section is traversed. The views on both sides of the road are excellent with the  Swartberg Mountains dominating the views to the right. The gradient picks up again at the 1.5 km mark as the second part of the ascent begins. The gradients range between 1:14 and 1:20 with the steeper sections being just before the summit point.

The summit of 808m is reached at the 3 km mark. From the summit there are good views in every direction as the road can seen far ahead heading down the slope towards the west.

The descent is fairly short at 1.3 km and has an average gradient of 1:17 with only a few gentle changes in direction. The pass ends at the 4.7 km point at the crossing of a small stream adjacent to the Witfontein farm. Up ahead and on the right hand side of the road you will see a prominent otcrop called Agus se Kop [837m] which marks the start of the next pass, which is called Huis se Hoogte.  

Fact File:


S33.405447 E21.995641


S33.410752 E21.966466


S33.417995 E21.954732














4.7 km




6 minutes


60 kph


Gravel (MR00363)






Calitzdorp (43 km)

Route Map:

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Route files:

||Click to download: Doringkloof Pass (MR00363)  (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

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