This 5 km long pass is fairly steep with gradients of up to 1:10. It connects Lydenburg in the north-east with Machadodorp in the south-west.The pass gains 218m in altitude and summits at 1531m ASL. It holds a good safety record and the curves are gentle and comfortable. The pass offers expansive views over the Kwena Basin and paragliders are often seen here using the lift off the ridges to stay aloft.
Cautionary : At the time of filming the R36 in its entirety is riddled with potholes to the point of being dangerous to drive on. This includes both the passes on this road - Witklip se Hoogte and Chomse se Hoogte. The road is scheduled for reconstruction in 2016/2017.
This dynamic pass is located in the mountains to the north of Ngodwana and is a restricted road which falls under the jurisdiction of South African Paper and Pulp Industries (SAPPI). It is a big pass and covers a total of 27,6 km. The pass is tarred with an average gradient of 1:25, but there are some very steep sections at 1:5. The public are discouraged from utilising the road, but for those persistent enough, you can get a permit from the SAPPI office at Ngodwana. [Details lower down on this page] Caution: This is a dangerous road! Despite it being tarred, it has many corners with negative cross-flow. The road carries heavy trucks (SAPPI) which often use the entire road. Almost every one of its many bends has a name of a driver who has been injured or died there. Thick mountain mists bedevil the pass, sometimes reducing speed to a walking pace. There can be a temperature variance of up to 20 degrees, so take warm kit with.
This short tarred pass is an easy one and is located on the R36/R539 between eNtokozweni [Machadadorp] (6km) in the SW and Lydenburg in the NE (70km). It traverses commercial timber plantations and open grasslands and plays host to two historical sites. The pass has an easy average gradient of 1:18 with the steepest section being at 1:11
This lovely pass packing a substantial descent of 225 vertical metres is located on the R539 between eNtokozweni (Machadodorp) in the south west and Nelspruit in the east. It is the second pass of a quartet of passes on the R539, the other three being the Crossroads Pass at the start of the R539, Patata Nek Pass 15 km further east and finally, Schoemanskloof Pass which follows shortly after Patata Nek. The 3,6km long pass summits at 1595m ASL producing a fairly steep average gradient of 1:16. The pass is suitable for all traffic.
This is a typical road that drives through a low point (neck) between two mountains or hills. With a length of just under 4 kms, this gravel road descends steeply with some of the gradients at 1:6 to drop 153 vertical metres from a summit altitude of 1870m. Views looking down towards the town of Volksrust are excellent. The pass connects the R543 with farms in the Vlakpoort area. The road is suitable for all vehicles, except in heavy rain or snow when 4WD would be much safer.
Incredibly this magnificent gravel pass is not officially named by any government authority at the time of writing. The well designed pass twists and turns its way laboriously through 738 meters of altitude through the mountains just two kilometers from the Swaziland border to summit at a T-junction with the R40 south of Barberton. In terms of altitude gained, this pass will slot in at the 14th highest nationally. The pass provides dramatic views of towering mountains and green valleys and takes us past an old forgotten mining town - Diepgezet. In dry weather the pass can be driven in a 4x2 "bakkie", but good ground clearance is important. In wet weather, we recommend a 4x4. ~ The information on this pass as well as some photographs were submitted by Andre van Dyk.
The beautiful Elands Pass will always be remembered once driven. It has an abundance of scenic beauty, with waterfalls, a railway line looping under the road, history in abundance and a beautifully engineered tar road to make for a comfortable drive. Perhaps the only detraction is that the N4 is a very busy road with lots of heavy-duty commercial traffic. The pass connects Machadodorp (eNtokozweni) in the west (8km) with Nelspruit in the east (85 km). The historic town of Waterval-Boven (Emgwenya) lies at the western end of the pass. The pass is 9,4 km long and gains 198m in altitude producing a gentle average gradient of 1:47 with the steepest parts near the tunnel being at 1:12
This is a serious gravel road and jeep track for the more experienced driver and should not be attempted unless in a 4WD vehicle with decent ground clearance. The pass is located in the mountains north-east of Barberton and leads to the historic ghost town known as Eureka City which dates back to the gold rush in 1885 to 1895. The pass is 8,5 km long and climbs 478 vertical metres producing an average gradient of 1:18 with some stiff sections of up to 1:6. Allow a full day and you'll need to get a permit in Barberton.
Ezzey’s Pass, also sometimes called Ezzey’s Cutting, is located on the tarred R38 road between Barberton and Kaapmuiden. This part of the Lowveld has a rich history in more ways than one, and the area is dotted with gold mines, ghost towns, and constant reminders of its past. Although the pass holds few apparent dangers, we strongly recommend that you drive this road without exceeding the speed limit, as there have been a number of serious accidents on this section. The road is narrow, with many blind corners, so keep a sharp lookout for other cars and trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and animals. The pass is 10,4 km long and contains 23 bends, curves and corners. Take it slowly and enjoy the scenery.
This pass lies 12km to the NE of Lydenburg. Translated it means Gold Fields Pass. It is a gravel pass but is generally maintained to a reasonable level and will be suitable for most vehicles in dry weather. Like all gravel roads, they can quickly deteriorate in rainy weather and become slippery,muddy, corrugated and potholed. The pass traverses a narrow valley bisected by the Spekboomrivier, which boasts two classically designed high arched, stone bridges along it's course. The valley opens up progressively towards the south-east. This is a dead end road and lies on private property and is only accessible to guests staying at one of the lodges.
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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