Grootnek Pass (R70)

Read 1710 times
Scenery hear the pass Scenery hear the pass - Photo: Rudolph Hattingh

This is straightforward pass over a low point in the mountains known as Grootnek - about midway between Rosendal and Ficksburg in the Free State. There is only one minor bend in the road and a small altitude gain of 85m producing a very easy average gradient of only 1:73. The steeper sections are on the southern descent which present at 1:14. The only danger on this pass is when snow occurs, when it should be avoided altogether unless you are in a 4WD vehicle equipped with appropriate equipment. The pass offers grand scenery over the mountains of the southern Free State.

Scroll down to view the map & video. 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.....

[On-motorcycle video material supplied by Mike Liecester / Video cover photo courtesy of Panoramio]

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
: Head south out of Rosendal on the R70 for 16 km to reach the northern start of the Grootnek Pass.

As the northern start of the pass is approached the farm Grootkloof is passed on the right (west), followed almost immediately by the farm Sandfontein. The first 3 km of the northern ascent are mild with easy gradients of between 1:50 and 1:20, with a change in gradient to 1:14 just before the summit of 1758m ASL. The road heads purposefully towards a low point amongst a series of hills and peaks ahead. The dominant peak to the right and close to the road has a height of 1872,6m whilst a more elongated ridge extends into the east with a maximum height of 1868m.

Right near the summit a smaller road leads off to the left (east) to the farm with the unusual name of Sinagetruide.  The only change in heading occurs immediately after the summit and then by only 4 degrees to the east.

The descent is straight and has a gradient of 1:33 which is mild. The pass ends at the 6,2 km point at an altitude of 1673m ASL adjacent to the farms Uitkyk (to the west) and Arcadia (to the east). The entire area is cultivated farmland and produces vast quantities of maize which is perfectly suited to this summer rainfall region. Winters can get bitterly cold and snow and frost are regular visitors to this high altitude pass.

Cautionary: At the time of filming there were some fairly deep potholes along this pass, which are clearly visible in the video footage. Adjust your speed accordingly. Note that the video shows the pass being travelled from north to south.

Scenery near the passExquisite scenery in the southern Free State / Photo: Michael Feistel

Fact File:

GPS START  S28.636106 E27.936369
GPS SUMMIT S28.664956 E27.934385
GPS END  S28.691329 E27.938231
DATE FILMED 08.08.2015
NEAREST TOWN Rosendal (19 km)

Route Map:

Use these powerful features to get the best use out of the map:

  • Choose either Map View or Satellite View (overlaid on the map detail.)
  • Zoom in and out; rotate in any direction.
  • Use the Get Route'feature (directly beneath the map): type in your address to get a personalised route straight from where you are to the pass, with time and distance included.
  • Detailed written and printable directions.
  • Drag the 'little orange man' icon onto the pass for a complete 360° tiltable "street view".

From Address:

Route files:

Register and get access to route files. Simply download to your PC/Laptop/Mobile device and transfer the file directly to your GPS for 100% accurate navigation from start to end. This is a free service to registered users.

Please Register or Log in to access these files.

Route files are only available to Registered users. When you register you will also be subscribed to our News Updates.

Mountain Passes South Africa

Our website is 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.

Subscribe to our Site

We offer a totally free subscription. You will receive an email notification every time a new pass has been uploaded. You will also get access to registered content on our site.


MPSA Tour Discount

Receive the following discount on any of the Mountain Passes Tours: R100

Use Coupon Code: mpsa4xh3za

More information

Route File

On a pass-page, scroll down to below the Route Map, to download the Route File. Available only to Registered Users.


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.

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map 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.

View Master Orientation Map...