Casper's Nek Pass, Mpumalanga

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Caspers Nek Pass Caspers Nek Pass - Photo: Panoramainfo.co.za

This as a secondary gravel road in the vicinity of some of the famous attractions of the Lowveld, like the Blyde River Canyon (Molatse Canyon), Pilgrim's Rest, Bourkes Luck Potholes - a charming world of a bygone era, loaded with pioneering history.




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Digging into the details:

The pass starts at 1145m ASL and rises to its summit of 1404m, finally descending to 1279m on its western side. The ascent gradient is an easy 1/47; but there is one 1.6km section which rises 153m, producing a steep gradient of 1/10.

In 1843 Andries Potgieter - who had just founded Potchefstroom and on the advice of Trichard - took a more southerly route into the unknown land of the north-east, which turned out to be virtually impossible - let alone arduous!! After negotiating what is known as Casper's Nek Pass (named after Paul Kruger's father who pioneered this oldest existing road in the region still in use), the party reached the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment down which there was no possible descent at that point, or - by line of sight - for 50km in any direction.

Three Rondavels geographical feature near Caspers Nek PassGods Window and the 3 Rondavels geographical feature shown here are all close to the Graskop area and Caspers Nek Pass / Photo courtesy of TrueEarth.com Leaving the women and children and a few men out spanned on the banks of the river just below the top of the escarpment - with strict instructions that the waiting group return to Potchefstroom if the scouting group had not returned by a date two months into the future - the men went in search of a way down to the Lowveld 1000m below.

Access to the Lowveld was discovered to be via an animal track on a land under the control of a local chief named Koveni - hence the Afrikaans translation Kowyn - and onto Delagoa Bay where, for various reasons, the men were delayed. The waiting party, after staying a fortnight longer than instructed, left the river on who's banks they had been anxiously waiting, and named it "Treurrivier" (River of Sorrow). A few days later the returning men caught up with their womenfolk on the banks of another river further north, which was promptly named the "Blyderivier" (River of Joy). In the year 1850 the farm GRASKOP - so named because of the vast tracts of grassveld and singular lack of trees in the area - was owned by one Abel Erasmus who in later years was to become "native commissioner and magistrate" for the entire Lowveld and escarpment region. The local, indigenous people gave this redoubtable hunter the name "Dubula Duzi", in recognition of the fact that he waited till the very last moment before firing on his quarry.

The above history on Graskop and surrounds courtesy of www.graskop.co.za


Fact File:

GPS START

S24.735373 E30.778137

GPS SUMMIT

S24.734305 E30.718817

GPS END

S24.729467 E30.706242

AVE GRADIENT

1:47

MAX GRADIENT

1:10

ELEVATION START

1145m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

1404m

ELEVATION END

1228m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

259m

DISTANCE

12,2  km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

West

TIME REQUIRED

15 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

60 kph

SURFACE

Gravel

DATE FILMED

23.04.2013

TEMPERATURE

22C

NEAREST TOWN

Pilgrims Rest (7 km)


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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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