Maanhaarrand Pass (D568)

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Southern hairpin on Maanhaarand Pass Southern hairpin on Maanhaarand Pass - Photo: Hendrik van den Berg

Also known as 'Breedt's Nek', this gravel pass can be found just off the R763, near the Magaliesberg Nature Reserve. It provides a link across the Magaliesberg from the settlement of Maanhaarrand to Buffelspoort and the town of Mooinooi to the north-east. The road bears an official number (D568), and the condition ranges from poor to terrible. Expect gradients of 1:10 and deeply rutted and rocky sections. However, providing you are in a 4x4 vehicle or at least a commercial vehicle with good ground clearance, it is most certainly doable, but it is a long, slow drive. Don't drive this road if you're in a hurry.

 
 

Scroll down to view the map & video. It is recommended to watch this video in HD. (Click on the "quality" button on the lower taskbar of the video screen and select 720HD.) Wait a few seconds for the video to display.....



[On-Car video material supplied by Mike Leicester / Video cover photo by Magaliesberg Birding ]

FULL-SCREEN MODE: Click PLAY, then pass your mouse over the bottom right corner of the video screen. The outline of a square will appear. Clicking on it will toggle Full Screen Mode. Press ESC to return to the original format.

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: From the town of Magaliesburg, head north-west out of town on the tarred R24, commonly known as the Rustenburg Road. Remain on this road for 16 km till you reach the rutal settlement of Maanhaarrand. At the point where the road bends into the west, take the second gravel road to the right at GPS S25.914147  E27.449243. These two turn-offs are only 470m apart, so it's easy to make a mistake. Note that the first intersection is a 4 way intersection, whereas the second one (to the pass) is a T junction. Turn right onto the gravel road. If you really want to make 100% sure you're on the right road, check the little boards on the side of the road each 2 km that will show the road number as D568. The actual pass starts 4,5 km along this road. We recommend that tyres should be deflated to at least 1,4 bar, which will make your traverse of the pass both safer and less bumpy.

Magaliesberg viewsMagaliesberg views / Photo: Garfield KrigeMaanhaarrand translates into 'Mane Ridge' and no doubt refers to a lion's mane, which was common in the region in the early 1900's when these routes were forged through the mountains to the north. As the Magaliesberg looms ahead the road curves away towards the north-west at the foot of the pass at an altitude of 1525m.

This heading is maintained for 1 km, whereafter the road bends sharply through 100 degrees to the right, bringing the heading into the north-east, as it climbs steadily at a gradient of 1:14. Just before this first sharp, right-hand bend, a smaller road leads away to the left to the farm Boschfontein. Views to the right open up and if you have time to sneak a quick glance at the view, consider yourself lucky, as this road is rutted and peppered with loose stones, requiring a lot of concentration.

This leg of the ascent lasts for 900m and as a distinct koppie [1733m] appears ahead and sightly to the right, this is your cue that the hairpin bend is coming up. The hairpin is a true one, consuming a full 180 degrees of radius through the turn, but the bend is fairly wide. Not that speed is an issue, as you will be driving along, by necessity, at a very gentle 20 kph due to the state of the road surface.

Near the summitNear the summit / Photo: Hendrik van den BergOnce through the hairpin, the heading is into the south-west for the next 200m, then another sharp bend to the right of  120 degrees, changes the heading into the north, where it remains till the summit is reached via a single, shallow S-curve.

The summit area is rocky and quite barren, especially at the time of filming in August 2015 after grass fires had swept through the mountain at the end of the winter.

Once you have enjoyed the scenery and taken a leg-stretch, it's time to tackle the descent, which is steeper than the southern side at 1:10. The road drops down the stony ridge heading persistently northwards. On the right (east) two river valleys parallel each other into the north, breaking the almost lunar landscape up slightly. The valley to the east is called Christmas Kloof and another valley and out of view to the right is known as Groblers Kloof.

The road negotiates three gentle corners, then enters a second series of switchbacks which starts as a minor road leads away to the right. Ignore this and remain on the main road. For the more adventurous, this little road to the right, leads down to the farms Kromrivier and Cambrial in the river valley to the east and it is possible to rejoin the Maanhaarrand road near the northern foot of the pass via this little farm road.

Rough road surfacesThe road is sporadically rough in places / Photo: Hendrik van den BergThis set of switchbacks consists of six sharp corners, which are not quite hairpins, but in each case the direction changes in excess of 90 degrees. The road is well designed in terms of maintaining a steady descent gradient, but the surface remains extremely rough and badly rutted in some places, requiring drivers to use the entire width to negotiate a smoother line.

Because of the exrtremely bad surface, most drivers avoid this road, which in a way, makes for low traffic volumes, which means it is a safe road. To add to the safety levels, the very low speeds which need to be driven, mean collisions are almost unheard of.

The pass ends at the crossing of a small stream after 7,1 km at an altitude of 1360m. Continue for another 1,7 km where the road bends sharply to the left to form a T-junction with another road. If you turrn right it will take you to the Buffelspoort dam and the town of Mooinooi (15 km), whereas a left turn will take you to Olifantsnek (23 km) and Rustenburg (30 km).

Attractions in the area include the Magaliesberg Paragliding launch ramp, and the Magaliesberg Mountain Sanctuary Park. A little further to the north, you will find the Buffelspoort Eco-Park. The pass can be accessed from either the R763 or the R24.


Fact File:

GPS START

S25.879648 E27.447977

GPS SUMMIT

S25.864308 E27.443237

GPS END

S25.830521 E27.443051

AVE GRADIENT

1:20

MAX GRADIENT

1:8

ELEVATION START

1525m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

1716m

ELEVATION END

1360m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

356m

DISTANCE

7,1 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

North

TIME REQUIRED

20 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

20 kph

SURFACE

Gravel (D568)

DATE FILMED

16.08.2015

TEMPERATURE

24C

NEAREST TOWN

Mooinooi (25km)


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Maanhaarrand Pass www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za & Google Earth
More in this category: Buffelspoort (R104) »

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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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