Located in the remote high mountain plateau north of Beaufort West and approximately midway between the Thomas Bain built Molteno and De Jager passes, the Trapvoet Pass winds its way steeply down a mountain and into a small canyon carved out by a river over the millenia. This road is long and rough and we don't recommend anyone attempting this one without a 4x4 with good ground clearance and low range. Part of the route crosses private property with locked farm gates. You will need to first obtain permission from the land owner. Contact details are posted lower down on this page.
This short, but steep gravel pass lies on private property at the farm Tierfontein, but can be accessed by guests staying at Ko-Ka Tsara bush camp. This pass is for experienced offroad motorcyclists and 4x4 vehicles with low range. The pass, named after the almost extinct Bontebok (but now flourishing, thanks to the efforts of conservationists) takes one from the Gamka river valley to the top of the mountain and provides access from there via the high plateau to the eastern side of the Gamka Dam.
Namaqualand plays host to a number of great gravel passes. The Kamiesberg Pass is the closest of them in terms of accessibility and commences just a stone's throw away from the N7 highway. This pass is also called the Kamieshoogte Pass and is sometimes spelt as Kammiesberg with a double 'm'. The pass has an altitude variance of 306 vertical metres to summit at 1114m ASL after 5,5 km producing an average gradient of 1:18. The road mainly carries farm type traffic, except during the spring flower season when the traffic volumes increase substantially as the tourists arrive in droves.
South Africa and especially the Klein Karoo (Little Karoo) has some of the finest gravel roads for the purpose of eco-tourism. With the popularity of the GPS, these minor roads are just waiting to be discovered. The Rust en Vrede Pass (Rest and Peace) provides a fabulous drive along a gravel road with sufficient gradient and curves to make it a memorable mountain pass. It follows the east/west axis of the Swartberg Mountains on its southern side.
This fairly steep gravel pass lies on the east/west axis on the southern side of the Swartberg Mountains and connects the Kruisrivier farming area in the west with the Swartberg Private Game Lodge at the eastern end of the pass. Continuing eastwards along this road (P363) will bring you to the foot of the Swartberg Pass as well as ultimately to the Cango Caves.
At the 3.2 km the pass is well below the national average and the altitude variance is a mere 98m, but it is the magnificent scenery which makes this one of those back road passes well worth detouring to travel.
This lovely gravel pass traverses a substantial area of the Botelierskop Private Game Reserve, which lies due north of Klein Brak Rivier on the Garden Route’s coastal plateau. The pass is just over 5 km long and has gradients between 1:5 and 1:20. You are almost guaranteed to see game on this lovely drive. This road appears on certain maps as Blesbok Road.
This is a semi-suburban old road demarcated on the government maps as an official pass. It is a straight forward fairly easy descent down a road which is a mix of gravel and tar and heads east towards Great Brak River and ends at a T-junction few kilometers later in the village.
This gravel pass connects the seaside town of Grootbrakrivier (Great Brak River) with the dairy farming coastal plateau to the north as well as being the main connecting road to the region’s biggest fresh water supply – the Wolwedans Dam. We filmed the pass in the descending mode to maximise on the scenic value. The pass carries an alternative official name - Charles Road.
A short and very steep gravel pass that connects the tiny settlement of Rondevlei on the shores of the Bo-Langvlei in the Garden Route's Lake District with the upper coastal plateau dairy farming region and the 7 Passes Road near Bergplaas and Beervlei forestry sectors. The pass is almost always corrugated and suffers damage quickly from heavy rain due its steep gradient. It provides attractive views of the lakes in the Garden Route National Park.
This lovely gravel pass runs along the east/west axis through the mountains between the farming areas along the R365 in the west, with the Kransvleikloof Pass to the east, near N7 close to Clanwilliam in the Sandveld region of the West Coast. The region is well known for the production of potatoes and in this kloof, with its own micro-climate, many farms also produce citrus products, similar to the Olifants River valley a few kilometers further to the east.
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.