Donkerpoort (R104)

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Views over Donkerpoort and Donkerhoek Views over Donkerpoort and Donkerhoek - Photo: Arius.Tennapel

A short easy pass gaining only 60m in altitude over 2,7 km producing an average gradient of 1:45, but there are some fairly steep sections just before and after the summit at 1:7. The pass climbs up a side ravine of the Magaliesberg range opposite the mountain called Donkerhoek. The road is labelled as the R104 and is the old main road between Pretoria and Bronkhorstspruit and is located approximately halfway between the two. The pass is relatively safe providing the speed limit of 80 kph is complied with. The road is suitable for all vehicles.

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[On-car video material supplied by Mike Liecester / Video cover photo of the Bronkhorstspruit Dam by Dept of Water Affairs]

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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
: Head east out of Pretoria on the R104 (the Bronkhorstspruit Road) for 30km or take any of the off-ramps off the N4 Toll Road and join the R104 at any point along this stretch.

Donkerpoort summitDonkerpoort summit / Photo: Mike LeicesterFrom the western start just after the open-cast mine and adjacent to the Donkerhoek farm, the road rises at a very gentle gradient of 1:50 for the first kilometre, then gets steeper and steeper as the road curves to the left through a wide bend up the Donkerpoort itself. On the final section before the summit you will experience gradients of 1:7.

The summit of 1526m ASL is reached at the 1,8 km point, where the views down the mountain to the south east are attractive and the N4 highway can be seen disappearing into the distance. The name Donkerpoort translates into 'Dark Ravine'.

The descent is short, but equally as steep as the ascent. The pass ends at the 2,7 km mark at an altitude of 1483m ASL.
Continue on the R104 to arrive at Bronkhorstspruit, 30 km further east.

For those interested in military history, it is possible to visit the Diamond Hill Military Cemetry which can be accessed by taking the first road into the south east, before the start of the Donkerpoort Pass at GPS S25.773058 E28.451995. It overpasses the N4 and continues for 5,7 km traversing a range of farms. The cemetry is on the left hand side of the road opposite the farm 'Tandem'.

Fact File:

GPS START  S25.776088 E28.467807
GPS SUMMIT S25.777372 E28.482580
GPS END  S25.778007 E28.491839
SURFACE Tar (R104)
DATE FILMED 10.08.2015
NEAREST TOWN Rayton (10 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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