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Soetmelksrivier Pass (N2)

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The start of the pass drops into an S bend The start of the pass drops into an S bend - Photo: Trygve Roberts

This relatively short pass lies on the N2 between Riversdale and Albertinia and forms the eastern half of the twin Riversdale passes - the western one being the Goukou River Pass. The pass has an altitude variance of a mild 62 metres, but the the climb out on the eastern side is long and steep with a gradient of 1:11. This is a favourite spot for local traffic authorities to do speed checking, so watch the speed limit signs carefully or be prepared to cough up.

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Digging into the details:

Getting there: Drive eastwards on the N2 between Riversdale and Albertinia. First you will traverse the Goukou River Pass, followed immediately at its eastern summit by the Soetmelksrivier Pass. It is located approximately 10 km east of Riversdale.

Starting at an altitude of 157m ASL, the road bends away into a nicely banked right hand bend and begins descending at a fairly gentle gradient of 1:16. This right hand bend bend soon swings into a left hand bend forming a complete S-bend, then quickly straightens out as the Soetmelksrivier is crossed.

Crossing the SoetmelksrivierCrossing the Soetmelksrivier is followed by a steep climb / Photo: Trygve RobertsAhead the road can be seen climbing away steeply followed by a sharp right hand bend. The scenery here is typical wheat and canola farming country with every available acre of land under agriculture. Only the koppies and river courses have escaped being ploughed. This pass is one of the areas that still falls under its natural vegetation.

The climb out up to the Still Bay plateau is steep and this section of roadway is unfortunately limited to a single lane in either direction. There is no overtaking allowed at all for eastbound traffic for the entire length of the pass and only one short section near the river crossing for westbound traffic.

If you find yourself stuck behind a heavy, slow moving truck, who will not move over the yellow line, you'll need to exercise some patience, as this uphill/downhill has been the location of several fatal head-on collisions in the past. The ascent is long and straight for 1,2 km and some motorists risk their lives overtaking illegally. Near the summit the gradient flattens out as the road swings away to the left via an easy curve bringing the heading back into the east. The pass ends at the intersection of the secondary road that forms a T-junction to the coastal village of Still Bay, which lies at the mouth of the Goukou River, which you would have crossed during the previous pass - The Goukou River Pass.

Approaching the river crossingExpect heavy trucks and traffic / Photo: Trygve RobertsFor traffic descending from the east, this descent has proved lethal for heavy trucks and buses on several occassions and has been the scene of several serious accidents. If you're towing a caravan or other heavy load, be aware of the danger potential of this momentum gathering descent.

The Soetmelksrivier (which translates into Sweet Milk River) after which this pass is named, is a small river which is a tributary of the Goukou River and forms a confluence with it 3 km further to the south-west.


Fact File:

GPS START 

S34.152566 E21.301159

GPS BRIDGE

S34.160920 E21.303971

GPS END 

S34.170362 E21.323034

AVE GRADIENT

1:34

MAX GRADIENT

1:11

ELEVATION START

157m

ELEVATION BRIDGE

95m

ELEVATION END

144m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

62m

DISTANCE

3,2 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

South-East

TIME REQUIRED

3 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

80 - 120 kph

SURFACE

Tar (N2)

DATE FILMED

12.11.2015

TEMPERATURE

20C

NEAREST TOWN

Riversdale (10 km)


Route Map:

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Route files:

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

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