Draaihoek se Hoogte (S693)

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Verkykerskop can be seen from a long distance Verkykerskop can be seen from a long distance - Photo: Photo - Jaco Van Tonder

A fairly steep gravel pass on a minor farm road between Verkykerskop in the south and Vrede in the north. The pass has an altitude variance of 175 vertical metres over 2,4 km to summit at 1949m, producing an average gradient of a stiff 1:13. This one will be slippery when wet and lethal when it snows.

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[Video cover photo and on-car footage supplied by Mike Leicester]

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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: There are several ways to access this pass. We filmed the pass from north to south. For those wanting to drive it in this direction, head east out of Warden (just north of the town) on a gravel road for 9 km and turn right onto another gravel road at GPS S27.814730 E29.032689. Remain on this road for 16 km which heads approximately north-east. At the second intersection at GPS S27.761921 E29.157603, turn right and head SSE for 3 km to arrive at the northern start of the pass.

DraaihoekseHoogtexDaanPrinslooVerkykerskop / Photo: Daan PrinslooFor those wanting to approach from Verkykerskop in the south, head briefly south out of the village for 580m on the R722. Turn right (west) onto a gravel road at GPS S27.925574 E29.280197 and continue for 14km Turn right at the 4 way intersection at GPS S27.920349 E29.145480 Drive north for 13 km ignoring all roads leading off on either side. Turn left onto a gravel road at GPS S27.822902 E29.175694 Drive north on this road for 3 km to arrive at the southern start of the pass.

The descent begins quite gently at a gradient of 1:12 and curves through a wide right hand bend through 90 degrees. This changes the heading into the south west. The right hand side of the road has a dense stand of tall trees, whilst the views down into the ravine to the left are of the valley and grass covered plains. This pass will get really tricky in very wet weather and even worse in snow. It does snow here from time to time, in which case the pass is best avoided.

Deep ruts and steep gradientsSteep gradients and a rutted surface - Drive carefully / Photo: Mike LeicesterAt the 1,4 km point, there is another right hand bend of 30 degrees and within 100m a very sharp left hand bend of 110 degrees makes an appearance. This is the only dangerous corner on this pass and is best negotiated at a speed of 30 kph or lower. The inner corner of this bend is often washed out and corrugated and it's very easy to lose traction and control here.

Immediately after this sharp bend the road reaches its steepest gradient of 1:7. The dense stands of trees continue to dominate the views on the right hand side of the road, as the heading changes into the south and a long, straight descent completes the final section of this fairly short pass.

The pass ends at the entrance to the Draaihoek farm, which nestles attractively in a densely wooded crook of the mountain. Almost immediately another gravel road leads off to the left. This is a dead-end and goes to the farm Odendaalshoogte.

[Research and text write-up by Trygve Roberts & Mike Leicester]

Fact File:

GPS START S27.783782   E29.172082
GPS SUMMIT S27.783782   E29.172082
GPS END S27.799553   E29.165842
DISTANCE 2,36 km
SPEED LIMIT 60 kph (S693)
DATE FILMED 27.04.2016
NEAREST TOWN Warden (29 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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