Bloedrivierpoort Pass

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Memorial - Battle of Bloedrivierpoort 1901 Memorial - Battle of Bloedrivierpoort 1901 - Photo: Photo - Redcoat

This gravel pass is fairly straightforward with no sharp corners and mostly easy gradients. It climbs 101 vertical metres over 3,2 km producing a gentle average gradient of 1:32, with the steepest section near the summit measuring a stiff 1:8. More significantly, the pass gives access to the memorial of the Battle of Bloedrivierpoort (1901). The road is suitable for all vehicles.

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Digging into the details:

Getting there: We have produced this pass travelling from south to north. The poort can be approached from several directions. We have described it using Vryheid as the departure point.
1. From Vryheid head south-east on the R33 for 26 km and turn right (north) onto the R34 (tar) signposted "Utrecht"
2. After 6 km, turn right at GPS S27.855774 E30.547776 onto a gravel road opposite the Brakwater irrigation dam.
3. Remain on this gravel road for 15 km to arrive at the southern start of the Bloedrivierpoort Pass.

Just after turning off the R34 onto the gravel approach road, you will see another large dam on the left hand side of the road. This is the A.F.C.Muhl Memorial Dam. The farm Goedgeloof is next up on the left and it is on this farm that you will find the memorial to the Battle of Blood River Poort - a savage battle between Boer and Brit on the 17th September, 1901. The access road to the memorial is 4 km after the dam on the left hand side of the road. It is another 1 km off the road. The monument is located under the shadow of the southern tip of the Nkubunde mountain [1637m].

In the Battle of Blood River Poort  on 17 September 1901, a Boer commando led by Louis Botha crushed a British force commanded by Major Hubert Gough during the Second Boer War. The full account of the battle can be read here.

The mountains start gradually closing in on the road and the Blood River (so named after the hundreds of warriors who died on this battlefield, turning the river's waters red with their blood - a different battle from an earlier time). The long ridge to the left is called Aasvoelkrans (Vultures Crags). Two more farms are passed - Slagveld and Avondsrus, before the start of the pass is reached.

On the right, the Skurweberg [1646m] muscles in to narrow the poort further. These days the waters of the river run clear as it tumbles down from the highlands to provide water for farmers lower down in the valley. Just after the start of the pass, the road crosses the main stream of the Blood River which flows down a large, but steep valley from the west. The second set of buildings of the Goedehoop farm are located close to the road, on the far side of the river bank.

The pass has six minor bends and is safe for all traffic, providing the speed limits are adhered to. The ascent remains on the western side of a tributary of the Blood River - the Grootspruit. Like all gravel roads, this one will also become slippery when wet. The final third of the pass becomes steeper, with the gradients averaging out at 1:15, but the final few hundred metres are the steepest at 1:8.

The pass ends at the summit [1325m ASL] with the small peak known as Spitskoppie [1405m] to the right (east). A 4 way intersection is reached 1,8 km later, where you have options for the rest of your journey - as well as access to other passes in this immediate area. Consult our Master Map to explore these.

Scenery at the top of the passAbove: Scenery near the summit of the pass / Photo - Hazzefraz

Fact File:

GPS START  S27.736070 E30.540600
GPS SUMMIT S27.709041 E30.545472
GPS END  S27.709041 E30.545472
TIME REQUIRED 10 minutes
SPEED LIMIT 60 - 80 kph
DATE FILMED 18.04.2015
NEAREST TOWN Vryheid (46 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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