Grey's Pass in Cape Town's city centre is comfortably the shortest official pass in South Africa with a length of 97m. It also walks off with the winner in the category "Lowest Altitude Gain" of just 1 metre. This "pass" in no way conforms to our definitions of a mountain pass in any respect, but it is an officially listed pass, so we are documenting and indexing it. It takes another statistical record, in that it is the first pass that we show in its full length with no editing necessary (and that includes filming it in both directions).
Vissershok translates from Afrikaans into Fishermans Cage. This small pass has some serious gradients and connects the north-western suburbs of Blouberg (Cape Town) with Durbanville and forms part of the semi-urban M48 route. It's 4,8 km long and sports an average gradient of 1:28 with the steepest sections on the western side getting as steep as 1:7. This road has a poor safety record with many fatal accidents having occurred. The road is narrow, unevenly surfaced and has no safety shoulders. Despite these dangers, it is a perennial favourite training route for cyclists. Large numbers of heavy trucks utilise the road to access the active quarries in the valley - namely Contermanskloof and Cotswold quarries. Drive with caution.
This attractive 5 km stretch of coastal road is located on the western side of the Cape Peninsula and connects Kommetjie and Noordhoek with the tiny settlements of Misty Cliffs and Scarborough in the south. It is has plenty of twists and turns, but a small variance in altitude, making it an enjoyable road for cyclists. The views to the west are wonderful of the Atlantic surf thundering onto the rocks close to the road and at the northern end the distinctive shape of the Slangkop Lighthouse with its crescent shaped white beach seals off the northern views.
This beautiful coastal drive contains 18 bends, corners and curves but none of them are of a serious or dangerous nature, providing speed limits are adhered to. The road surface is getting old and a bit bumpy from various repair works and the road is also fairly narrow over most of its length. Overtaking is awkward and dangerous due to the many corners. Sit back, relax and take in the stunnng scenery. Expect slow, tourist paced traffic.
A short, twisty and steep mountain pass that winds up the side of the Slangkop mountain offering sweeping views over the rugged Atlantic coastline with perfect views of the Slangkop Lighthouse. The pass is old and the tarred surface is not as smooth as more modern roads. It climbs 102 metres over 3,58 km producing an average gradient of 1:39 with the steeper sections presenting at 1:14. Since the new shortcut via Ocean View was built, this old road has quickly become one of the Peninsula's roads 'less travelled'. Don't miss out on this one - it's a real gem!
Take a fabulously scenic drive along the mountain side above Muizenberg and Kalk Bay Bay along the north-western corner of False Bay and take in the elevated views of the coastline with its rocky shores, tiny fishing harbours and blue waters stretching away towards Gordon's Bay and Cape Hangklip. This 7 km long mountain road offers an alternative route to the more congested Main Road along the seafront and provides some excellent view-sites as well as access to some wonderful hikes up to the Silvermine Nature Reserve. This road falls under the category of 'Suburban Passes'
Rhodes Drive is a 7 km mountain drive along the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain range and connects Constantia Nek in the south with the suburb of Newlands. This is one of the most scenic wooded drives on the Cape Peninsula and traverses some of the plush suburbs of the Southern Peninsula. It is also the only access road to the world famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. From dense indigenous forests, to towering old pine trees, majestic mountains, hiking trails, picnic spots and world class botanical gardens - it's all there along the wonderful Rhodes Drive.
This fairly long suburban pass links Hout Bay in the west with Constantia on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. It traverses some of the most beautiful woodlands in the Cape and passes many exclusive wine and equine estates. It is smack-bang on the main tourist route and carries heavy traffic. There are no safety shoulders on the road, making it dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. At the summit at Constantia Nek there are some historical buildings and a timeless restaurant considered to be the oldest restaurant in South Africa.
Victoria Road is a long road that stretches from Sea point all the way to Hout Bay. This lovely coastal road is featured several times on this website as it includes at least two passes in its total distance. This specific pass starts at the western end of Camps Bay at Bakoven and ends about 8,5 km later at the natural neck between the last buttress of the Twelve Apostles and Little Lions Head above Llandudno. It is a road which is appreciated and revered by locals and tourists alike and is well engineered with properly banked turns and smooth curves. It is a joy to drive, ride or cycle whilst offering fabulous views of the Atlantic coastline and the 12 Apostles.
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
Signal Hill road is an out and back scenic drive/pass that starts at Kloof Nek and climbs very steeply under the eastern flank of Lions Head, to level off along the spine of the ridge. It runs due north providing superb views of the city bowl and further towards False Bay. As the road curls around Lions Rump (Signal Hill) you will experience rapidly changing views of first, the main harbour, then the V&A Waterfront, Green Point with the Cape Town Stadium as its focal point, then Sea Point. Nelson Mandela's incarceration on Robben Island brings back memories of another era in our history. It lies only 3 nautical miles out into the blue waters of Table Bay.
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.
We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.