This is a beautiful gravel pass that ascends the eastern side of the Watervalsberg near Wolseley and connects the town with the Suurvlak plantation on top of the mountain. The pass falls under the jurisdiction of Cape Nature as well as the state's forestry arm in the Western Cape (Cape Pine). The road is open to permit holders only - we explain the process of getting the permit lower down on this page. The pass zig-zags its way up the mountain via three extreme switchbacks, at a fairly reasonable gradient and is well designed, offering exceptionally good views over the Tulbagh Valley and the Witzenberg mountains to the east. (Latest news as at Nov 2016 - this pass is now officially closed to the public)
This is an easy gravel drive through the valley of the Bivane river, known as Pivaanspoort. It offers magnificent mountain scenery and if you know where to find them, a few waterfalls as well. The poort is 9,47 km long and presents an easy average gradient of 1:61, but there are a few short sections where things get as steep as 1:11. The poort lies between the R33 north of Vryheid in the east and Utrecht to the west. The road is suitable for all vehicles.
Droevoetspoort is a minor poort about 10 km west of Fraserburg on the gravel R356. The poort offers a smattering of greenery as it follows the course of the river for 2.2 km descending a scant 16 metres in altitude. The average gradient pans out at a negligible 1:140. There is a solitary farm nestled in a shady part of the poort close to a copse of bluegum trees. No matter how insignificant it appears in the greater scheme of things, it will seem like an oasis after the flat, dry scenery in every direction.
This is an interesting gravel pass of moderate length with some sharp corners and steep gradients. It connects Candover in the north with Magudu in the south-west. The pass also functions to serve numerous farms in this mountainous region of KZN. The road is suitable for all vehicles, but things can get decidedly slippery here in wet weather. Adjust your speed accordingly.
This is a fairly safe, high altitude gravel pass located about 15 km north-east of Indwe in the Eastern Cape. It is located on the R396 which connects with the R56 in the south and the tiny village of Rossouw in the north. The pass is of average length (4,9 km) but it does descend incessantly, producing a stiff average gradient of 1:14. Some of the steeper sections present at 1:6. With an altitude of 1786m the pass is subject to regular winter snowfalls. In snow conditions, it is best avoided entirely. In fair weather the pass can be driven in a normal car. There's a strong similarity between this pass and the nearby Greylings Pass, except this one is on a much grander scale. The pass is also known as the Nepgen Pass or the Waschbank Pass. (More history on this lower down this page).
This short, gravel pass forms part of the Rooi Ivoor 4x4 route which includes another unofficial pass - The Doornhoek Pass (also featured on this site). Together these two passes form the ascent and descent towards a deep valley to the north. The Buffelskloof Pass traverses a mountain to the north of the Buffelskloof Dam and offers many viewing options over the dam, which get better as altitude is gained. This road can only be driven with a high clearance vehicle or 4x4 with low range. Access is restricted to permit holders. The route is gated along the lower parts of the Buffelskloof dam road as well as in the north at the Doornkloof farm. For more information on the full 4x4 route, please Google Rooi Ivoor 4x4
A pleasant little gravel pass close to Robertson in the Breede River Valley that connects Worcester with the R60 halfway to Robertson and provides a slower more scenic alternative to the R60. The road traverses two farming areas - first Rooilandia, then Eilandia. These two areas are separated by a ridge of mountains known as Die Bloubanke. The road interconnects all the farms in the valley with their immediate market towns and runs along the east/west axis on the northern side of the Breede River. (Wide or Broad River) The pass is suitable for all types of vehicles.
A gravel road through a Karoo style poort of 5,56 km with comfortable gradients and rugged scenery. This is one of many farm roads that traverse the vast area of the Karoo. The towns are far apart and travellers need to be well prepared in case of a breakdown. This pass has the potential to form a clockwise loop from the Blounek Pass to rejoin the R381 much further north. This is a 'well off the beaten track' pass that will satisfy those that seek the wild and rugged roads of South Africa.
This fairly long, but easy gravel pass is located south of the Breede River in the Scherpenheuwel area and provides an unusual connection between the riverside road, which is interrupted by a nose in the mountain, making the continuation of the road alongside the river impractical. It offers an alternative routing to the R60 as it follows the southern side of the Breede River. The pass heads inland towards a mountain called Scheepershoogte, after which the pass takes its name. The pass is also sometimes known as the Gannaberg Pass. The scenery is lovely at any time of year, but it's best in spring time.
The Dassieshoek Pass is a gravel road just north of Robertson that connects the town with the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve, which nestles in the foothills of the Langeberg mountains. The pass is gravel and despite some extremely sharp corners, has relatively easy gradients and it can be driven in a normal sedan vehicle. The road is a dead–end. This is not an official pass, but qualifies to be listed in terms of our definition.
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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