Buffelskloof Pass ( Rooi Ivoor 4x4 )

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The Buffelskloof Dam wall The Buffelskloof Dam wall - Photo: Photo: Journey of Water

This short, gravel pass forms part of the Rooi Ivoor 4x4 route which includes another unofficial pass - The Doornhoek Pass (also featured on this site). Together these two passes form the ascent and descent towards a deep valley to the north. The Buffelskloof Pass traverses a mountain to the north of the Buffelskloof Dam and offers many viewing options over the dam, which get better as altitude is gained. This road can only be driven with a high clearance vehicle or 4x4 with low range. Access is restricted to permit holders. The route is gated along the lower parts of the Buffelskloof dam road as well as in the north at the Doornkloof farm. For more information on the full 4x4 route, please Google Rooi Ivoor 4x4

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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.

Red Ivory treeRed Ivory tree / Photo: Wikipedia
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.

Bird watching in Mpumalanga is superb!Bird watching in Mpumalanga is superb! / Photo: Panoramio 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]

Fact File:

GPS START  S24.954505 E30.253053
GPS SUMMIT S24.937415 E30.265516
GPS END  S24.937415 E30.265516
DISTANCE 3,73 km
TIME REQUIRED 15 minutes
SURFACE Gravel (4x4)
DATE FILMED 08.03.2015
NEAREST TOWN Lydenburg (40km)

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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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