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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: There are many different ways to access this road. We describe the simplist approach from the south. From Dullstroom head north-east on tthe tarred R540 for 26 km. At GPS S25.256180 E30.258997, turn left onto a gravel road. Remain on this road for 16 km as it heads due north. At the 16 km mark there is a 4 way intersection. Continue on the same road (which becomes tar from the 4 way intersection) still heading north for a further 21 km.
Turn right onto the Buffelskloof Dam road at GPS S24.966272 E30.211726. This road is gravel. Drive for 6 km to reach the southern start of the Buffelskloof Pass. Access is restricted and per permit only. There is a control gate near the start of the pass.
Rooi Ivoor is the Afrikaans name for the Red Ivory tree that grows in the area. Its botanical name is Berchemia Zeyheri. It is well shaped tree which grows up to 10m in height. It occurs at medium to low altitude, in open woodland, often on termite mounds, on rocky ridges and along watercourses. It has a striking and unusual pink heartwood.
The pass is fairly short at 3,73 km and ascends 221 vertical metres over that distance producing an average gradient of 1:17 with the steepest parts going to 1:10. Initially, the road skirts through a long half-loop to the left then curls back onto itself as the road crosses a feeder tributary of the dam.
The first 1,25 km is fairly flat, but as the road reaches the second sharp bend to the left - a horseshoe bend - curling 180 degrees around a nose in the mountainside, the gradient suddenly changes and the climbing begins.
The waters of the dam make for good scenery. The dam is fed by the Watervalsrivier, which flows in an easterly direction down the ravine, then within a few kilometres, switches heading towards the north. The tarred Watervalsrivier Pass (featured elsewhere on this website), lies 15 km to the east (as the crow flies).
After a few hundred metres, another very sharp right bend is negotiated (100 degrees), which changes the heading into the east. The next set of bends follows an easy S-bend as the road curls gradually into the north, following the western side of a small ravine. The summit is reached at an altitude of 1545m ASL. Just after the summit a smaller track leads off to the right. This ends a short while later at Bergfontein and is a cul-de-sac.
[Editors note: 14th January, 2016 - We have just had news from Anvie Ventures that the land over which this pass runs has been sold as a result of a land claim and therefore this road is no longer publicly accessible]
|GPS START||S24.954505 E30.253053|
|GPS SUMMIT||S24.937415 E30.265516|
|GPS END||S24.937415 E30.265516|
|DIRECTION - TRAVEL||North-East|
|TIME REQUIRED||15 minutes|
|NEAREST TOWN||Lydenburg (40km)|
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