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[On-car video material supplied by Mike Liecester / Video cover photo by Sun City]
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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: From Rustenburg, head east on the old road (R104) for 32 km to arrive at the western start of the Buffelspoort. The newer N4 highway runs a few kilometres to the north of the R104.
The road and large dam to the south of the poort share the same name and translated from Afrikaans means the "Path of the Buffalo". The pass starts at its western end at an altitude of 1219m ASL close to the ATKV Resort - a popular weekend destination for campers and holidaymakers. The renowned casino and hotel complex in the bush (Sun City) lies just 65 km to the north-west of Buffelspoort.
The western ascent begins at an easy gradient of 1:50 for the first two kilometres, then gets steeper at 1:20 as the road sweeps up towards the summit via a wide left hand curve. The summit of 1318m ASL is reached at 3,38km point where one can enjoy pleasant views of the surrounding countryside. The summit has two peaks on either side. On the left side (north) is a small stand-alone peak called Slangkop (1343m) and the bigger closer peak to the right (south) is Weltevrede which has a height of 1415m. Note that a speed restriction of 80 kph applies along the pass.
The eastern descent hosts the steepest part of the pass at 1:16. The initial descent is short, then the road levels off briefly at the 4,0 km mark for 400m, before descending again consistently to the eastern end at an altitude of 1219m at the first intersection adjacent to the tiny village of Mooinooi (Pretty Girl)
The town of Marikana was laid out in 1870 on the farm Rooikoppies, and the settlement later expanded into seven white-owned farms. In 1933, the Buffelspoort Dam was built, allowing the local farmers to irrigate their crops.
The farming community grew in the 1960s on the back of lucrative tobacco farming, but other diversified farming practices i.e. cattle, maize, chillies, paprika, soya, lusern and sunflower amongst the main groups was the main economic driver of the area. In the 1970s mining was introduced and grew to become the main industry in the region. The main mining activities are PGMs and chrome. Since the introduction of mining activities the informal and formal population had a growth explosion.
The Marikana miners' strike of 10 August 2012 and the subsequent killing of 34 workers by police made headlines in the international media.
|GPS START||S25.756832 E27.483591|
|GPS SUMMIT||S25.764813 E27.515664|
|GPS END||S25.760605 E27.548445|
|DIRECTION - TRAVEL||East|
|TIME REQUIRED||6 minutes|
|SPEED LIMIT||80 kph|
|NEAREST TOWN||Mooinooi (5 km)|
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