Horn's Nek, Pretoria

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Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria - Photo: Wkipedia

The gently-graded, tarred Horns Nek Pass (M17) cuts through the picturesque and much loved Magaliesberg mountain range just west of Pretoria. At 3.8 km in distance, it rises at a moderate gradient of 1:20, from 1312m ASL to 1452m, but there are some steeper sections near the summit at 1:14. Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa's provinces geographically, but it has a dense population statistic and is also the seat of economic power. The province was established on the rich gold reefs originally discovered in the Johannesburg area and led to a massive sprawling complex of towns and cities covering a vast area, which does not have much in terms of big mountain ranges and consequently (other than the Magaliesberg), there are few official mountain passes in this province.

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Digging into the details

Getting there: Head west out of Pretoria Gardens on the tarred R514 (Van Der Hoff Road) for 3 km. Turn right at GPS S25.715178 E28.105070 onto Horns nek Road (M17). You will reach the southern end of the pass after 2,9 km.

Initially the gradient is very easy, but it gets progressively steeper as the road winds up into a single right hand S-bend. The maximum gradient of 1:14 is reached 2,5 km after the start just before the summit of 1452m. The pass rises thorugh a natural dip in the Magaliesberg Mountains, before dropping down on the northern side into the outlying suburbs of Pretoria.  There are no apparent dangers, subject to the speed limits being adhered to.

Horns nek viewPedestrians view of Horn's Nek / Photo: SA Mountain PassesThe descent along the northern side is virtually flat with a gradient of 1:33 and only lasts for for 1,1 km.

Magaliesberg (historically also known as Macalisberg or as the Cashan Mountains is a mountain range extending west and north from Pretoria to just south of Pilanesberg,and extending for some 50 km east of Pretoria where it peters out just south of Bronkhorstspruit. The highest point of the Magaliesberg is reached at Nooitgedacht (1 852 metres)

The range forms a natural barrier between the lower lying Bushveld to the north and the cooler Highveld to the south. The range receives rainfall in summer in the form of thunderstorms, with an average of 650 mm annually. In winter frost occurs frequently in the valleys on the southern side of the mountain, but almost never on the northern slopes.

The area saw some heavy fighting during the Second Anglo-Boer War. The Boers, being extremely familiar with the mountains, used secret pathways across the mountains to launch guerrilla attacks on the British soldiers. In response, the British forces built blockhouses on top of the mountains in order to restrict the movement of the Boer forces; ruins of these structures are still to be seen on the mountain.


Fact File:

GPS START

S25.700686 E28.082135

GPS SUMMIT

S25.681906 E28.068361

GPS END

S25.678506 E28.058926

AVE GRADIENT

1:27

MAX GRADIENT

1:14

ELEVATION START

1312m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

1452m

ELEVATION END

1430m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

140m

DISTANCE

3,8 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

North

TIME REQUIRED

3 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

80 kph

SURFACE

Tar (M17)

DATE FILMED

15.05.2015

TEMPERATURE

23C

NEAREST TOWN

Pretoria (16 km)


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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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