Palingspoort

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Klein Karoo scenery (Moose Valley) Klein Karoo scenery (Moose Valley) - Photo: Photo courtesy of Liza

This rough poort of just over 1 km in length traverses a natural gap in the mountains about 24 km east of Klaarstroom. Some of the ascending up the northern side has gradients of 1:10, but once the middle point is reached at the 0,6 km point, it's fairly level from there onwards. There are wonderful views of the Groot Swartberg mountains to the south as you crest the summit. The road leads to the Hagas farm, about 1,5 km beyond the southern end of the poort.

This is a basic farm road and is sometimes little more than a jeep track. We recommend being in a 4WD vehicle or at least in a high clearance bakkie. This is a dead-end road, so you will need to retrace your route back to the R407.

Scroll down to view the map & video. This short video consists entirely of Google Earth animated clips and serves only to orienteer the reader. The poort will be filmed in real-time soon. This minor poort will be filmed at some point in the future. It is recommended to watch this video in HD. (Click on the "quality" button on the lower taskbar of the video screen and select 720HD.) Wait a few seconds for the video to display.....



[Video cover photo by Danie VDM]

FULL-SCREEN MODE: Click PLAY, then pass your mouse over the bottom right corner of the video screen. The outline of a square will appear. Clicking on it will toggle Full Screen Mode. Press ESC to return to the original format.

Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.


 

Digging into the details:

Getting there: From the N12, take the  R410 eastwards for 22 km and turn right (south) at GPS S33.363818 E22.789674. Alternatively, if you are approaching from the east, drive for 70 km from Willomore on the R410 and turn left at the GPS coordinates mentioned above.

Once you have turned off the R410, drive for 0,6 km to reach the northern start of Palingspoort. The name is Afrikaans and translates into 'Passage of the Eels'. It is assumed that the stream once supported a reasonable population of eels, although considering the barren and dry landscape, it would seem doubtful these days.

Klein Karoo - aloes in winter bloomsA world of aloes and mountain ridges / Photo: SA TourismFrom the start at the lowest point of the poort at an altitude of 937m ASL, the road heads due south and begins ascending towards a natural gap in the mountain ridges dead ahead. This ridge of lower mountains is a precursor to the much bigger Swartberg Mountains a little further south. The ridge on the right (west) is called Grootpoort se Rant (1033m), whilst the one on the left is called Spieelkraalrant (1050m).

The road curves to the right and begins ascending more steeply at a gradient of 1:10 and quickly reaches the neck at the 0,5 km point, where the gradient levels off. Here one gets a huge view of the main Swartberg range to the south. The road bends gently to the left and then swings to the right following a more westerly heading along the southern base of the Grootpoort se Rant.

At the 0,8 km point, the road crosses a small stream via a dogleg bend. his section is often overgrown and the road seems to disappear in the undergrowth, but follow your nose and locate the road on the far side of the stream. The road continues heading WSW and ends at an altitude of 971m at the 1,1 km mark.

If you continue for another 1,5 km, you will arrive at the Hagas farmstead. There is a circular route that one can follow of about 6 km length, which will return you to the starting point. The Palingspoort is thus a dead-end and definitely a 'road less travelled'


Fact File:

GPS START  S33.368520 E22.787284
GPS SUMMIT S33.373979 E22.778430
GPS END  S33.373979 E22.778430
AVE GRADIENT 1:32
MAX GRADIENT 1:10
ELEVATION START 937m
ELEVATION SUMMIT 971m
ELEVATION END 971m
HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS 34m
DISTANCE 1,1 km
DIRECTION - TRAVEL South-West
TIME REQUIRED 5 minutes
SPEED LIMIT None
SURFACE Gravel
DATE FILMED 29.11.2016
TEMPERATURE 33C
NEAREST TOWN De Rust (48 km)

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Mountain Passes South Africa

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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