Cecil Mack's Pass

Read 5121 times
African Porcupine African Porcupine - Photo: Wikipedia

Cecil Mack's Pass is located in the Northern section of KZN on the border with Swaziland. It is a rough, gravel road better suited to off-road vehicles with 4WD. This is not one for the casual weekend traveller. The pass has something of a chequered history including severe cyclone damage, military control and now, obsolesence. Please note that the road is blocked at the Swaziland border and no traffic may proceed beyond that point, other than on foot.

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.....



[Video cover photo by BlackTomato.com]

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:

The pass is located roughly 20 km NNE of the Pongolapoort dam; 200km North of Richards Bay; 100km South of Manzini (Swaziland) and 30km South West of the Mozambique border. It is named after the local magistrate, Cecil Mack,  who lived in Ingwavuma in the 1920's.

This report received on 14th July, 2014, from Dr. Andrew Spence, provides an accurate status of this pass.

It's a rough roadDefinitely not suitable for normal cars / Photo: Roughdog"The pass can be accessed by taking the No.2 main tarred road North from Richards bay and Empangeni. Turn right at Jozini to begin the climb into the Lebombo Mountains. Later you pass the Tiger Lodge, proceed over the dam and continue heading north on the P522 to Bhambanana, where you turn left and follow the road (P443) to Ingwavuma. The entire route is tarred, but some sections are being upgraded, whilst other sections remain deeply potholed.

You can only drive down this pass from Ingwavuma. At the point where the border between South Africa and Swaziland is reached, there are substantial stakes and large stones blocking the road, effectively preventing vehicular acess into Swaziland. To access the pass, exit Ingwavuma towards the west (where the tar ends), then turn right (north). You can take a landmark as being 1,5 km west of the local Spar.

Spectacular views over the Ingwavuma River valleySpectacular views over the Ingwavuma River valley / Photo: WikimediaThe gravel road heads north along the Lebombo escarpment for about 4 kms, where you will encounter two switchbacks. This is where the road starts descending down the pass.There are no other roads turning off and the views are quite spectacular. The road hugs the Ingwavuma River and there are sections that have been concreted. This is the site of severe rockslides during Cyclone Demoina in 1986, which closed the road for many years. A short distance after the concrete sections, the point is reached where the road is blocked by the stakes and boulders.

From here you can leave your vehicle and walk a little further on, where you will find a soldiers guard hut, where locals write their names in a book and are allowed to cross the border both ways to visit family and friends and to to get to the Ingwavuma Hospital. If you explain to the soldier that you want to go for a walk in Swaziland, he will likely allow you free access.

There is no access to the pass by vehicle from the Swaziland side. This pass is therefore strictly and out and back route. In earlier years the pass used to be maintained by the military, but this changed in the 1980's and the road has since become obsolete. The condition of the road varies between moderate and poor with deep ruts, axle twisters and washaways. It is definitely not suitable for a non 4WD vehicle"


Fact File:

GPS START 

S27.094500 E31.982532

GPS RIVER

S27.073573 E31.990588

GPS END 

S27.065382 E31.977981

AVE GRADIENT

1:14

MAX GRADIENT

1:4

ELEVATION START

668m

ELEVATION RIVER

155m

ELEVATION END

234m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

513m

DISTANCE

9,03 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

North, East and West.

TIME REQUIRED

45 minutes each way

SPEED LIMIT

Self limiting

SURFACE

Gravel (Poor)

DATE FILMED

17.07.2014

TEMPERATURE

17C

NEAREST TOWN

Ingwavuma (5 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.

Register

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...