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Gouritz River Pass (N2)

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The new bridge spanning the Gouritz River gorge The new bridge spanning the Gouritz River gorge - Photo: Panoramio

This is a long pass on the N2 at 13,3 km which connects Albertinia in the west with Mossel Bay in the east. The western side is fairly straight with few bends and more gentle gradients, but the eastern side is much steeper and includes a set of double S-bends. The road straddles the Gouritz River - one of the major rivers in the area via a high bridge which spans the gorge adjacent to two old steel latticed bridges, which until 2005 were used as a bungee jumping and bridge swing site for the adrenaline junkies.

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Digging into the details:

Getting there: Head east from Albertinia on the N2 for 9 km to arrive at the western start of the pass.

The pass starts at a high point of 192m ASL and descends at a very comfortable gradient of 1:33 for 7,2 km, where the road kinks slightly to the right. From this point the gradient changes to a steeper 1:18 as the road enters through a steep cutting.

Ahead the road bridge can be seen spanning the gorge of the Gouritz River over a sheer drop of over 30m. Immediately to the left (north), another two bridges can be seen. The smaller one immediately to the left is the old road bridge, whilst the bigger steel latticed bridge carries the railway line.

The old road bridgeThe old road bridge in the peak of the bungee jumping era / Photo: PanoramioThe old bridges, still bedecked with sun bleached and wind batterred remnants of the signage of the heady days when this was the best bungee jumping site in South Africa stand forlornly abandoned today.

Two jumps were available. A straight-forward standard vertical bungee jump from the old bridge, followed by a long walk back up from the river bed via a rough footpath. The other option was a bridge swing, where the fulcrum point was attached to the new N2 bridge. All that adrenaline charged excitement is now a distant memory as the new generation of fun seekers head for the Bloukrans Pass further east to try the 219m high bungee jump, which is definitely not for sissies!

As the road exits the cutting and you find yourself on the exposed roadway of the bridge, be aware that some very strong cross-winds are often present in the gorge and can cause serious stability problems for certain vehicles - in particular high sided, empty commercial vehicles and caravans.

The Rail bridge over the Gourtitz RiverThe steel structure of the rail bridge towers over the river bed / Photo: PanoramioThe old bridge and view site are still open to the public and a dedicated left only lane allows for a safe exit from the N2 immediately after the bridge has been crossed. The Gouritz River is usually just a trickle of muddy water far below in the river bed, but when the heavy rains arrive in its large catchment area, this river can be deadly. We have seen this river raging higher up at the Jan Muller Pass crossing where the entire bridge has been underwater.

The ascent up the eastern side is more interesting than the western descent and includes an S-bend with some tight corners, steep sided cuttings and glimpses of the old gravel road at a lower level on the left (north). The climb up the eastern side of the valley is a long one at 5 km and the gradient is on average 1:15.

There is a second gentle S-bend about halfway up the ascent, but the engineering is good and a reasonable speed can be maintained. The ascent has three lanes for 98% of it's distance, of which two have been made available to eastbound traffic, which makes overtaking slow trucks a breeze all the way to the top. Conversely, if you end up behind a slow moving truck on the west-bound descent of this section, you will need to stay calm and chill as the first opportunity to overtake is only after the bridge.

The pass ends at 175m ASL at the intersection to Herbertsdale and Vleesbaai.


Fact File:

GPS START 

S34.202030 E21.665182

GPS BRIDGE

S34.185950 E21.752348

GPS END 

S34.196355 E21.804846

AVE GRADIENT

1:105

MAX GRADIENT

1:11

ELEVATION START

198m

ELEVATION BRIDGE

75m

ELEVATION END

202m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

127m

DISTANCE

13,3 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

East

TIME REQUIRED

10 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

80 - 120 kph

SURFACE

Tar (N2)

DATE FILMED

12.11.2015

TEMPERATURE

20C

NEAREST TOWN

Albertinia (9 km)


Route Map:

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Route files:

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

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Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
 

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