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Conophytum flavum - commonly found in this poort Conophytum flavum - commonly found in this poort - Photo: Wikipedia

This poort is the for more serious pass hunter. It's is a rough, two-spoor jeep track suitable for high clearance 4x4 vehicles only. The 7,7 km long poort sweeps in and around several low mountains in the far north-eastern segment of Namaqualand. This is a quintesessential 'road to nowhere'. Carry two spare wheels and be prepared for any emergency on this desolate and lonely road. The poort descends a total of 94m producing typically easy poort type gradients of 1:82 with even the steepest parts being a fairly mild 1:20.

Scroll down to view the map & video. This video consists entirely of Google Earth animated clips and serves to orienteer the prospective pass driver. It will be filmed in real-time at some point in the future.  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.....

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: There are at least 8 different ways to approach this poort from the south or west. If you're into tricky gravel road navigation, you can find your own way to the this poort using the GPS coordinates, but for those who want accurate driving instructions, we provide you with the easiest directions via the major roads to this poort.

From Springbok head north on the N7 for a few kilometres and take the off-ramp marked 'Okiep' at GPS S29.607225 E17.872451 and turn right and over the N7. Drive through Okiep and about 8 km later pass through the second mining town of Concordia. Continue heading north on the main road (Goodhouse Street) for a total of 26 km and turn right at GPS S29.322764 E17.976683 at a small but distinctive koppie called Abaheigaskop [1027m] onto a two-spoor jeep track. Head east for 5,5 km to arrive at the western start of the poort.

Thirstlands of the Northern CapeThirstland - Carry plenty of emergency water / Photo: StockOnce you turn off the main gravel road, your speed will be much slower, so allow double the time you would normally allocate to a poort of this length. We recommend tyre deflation to between 1.0 and 1.2 bar to cope with the soft sand conditions (and especially so during the hotter summer months) as well as engage four wheel drive.

The poort starts adjacent to a cluster of low, gray hills to the right (south) and begins descending gently over a wide, sandy plain with some low mountains dead ahead and about 5 kms distant. Between these mountains, is the location of the actual poort. The first bend occurs at the 1 km mark, which is a gentle left hand bend of 15 degrees.

At the 1,7 km point, another bigger cluster of gray hills are passed on the southern side of the road and the road skirts these koppies via a slight rise in the road, then descends again, still heading steadily into the east.

Namaqualand in springOnce per year each spring, the desert blooms in a dazzling display of colourThe bigger mountains now appear on the left (north) at the 3,3 km mark and here there is a tighter S-bend, but your speed will be so low (due to the rough nature of the track), that it won't be necessary to reduce speed further.

Amampoort is formed by four prominent koppies along the east-west axis, with the largest one [1109,8m] being the furthest to the east. None of these hills are named. The road curves into the north briefly at the 5 km point, as it descends through this natural poort between the last two peaks, then gradually bends around the northern flank of the last hill. The road straightens out into the north-east and the next valley floor is traversed towards the 7,7 km mark at an altitude of 916m ASL, where the poort officially ends.

For those adventurous enough to explore this outlying sector of Namaqualand, you will really need to know where you're going as there are countless tracks leading off both sides of the main track with no signage and getting lost here is a piece of cake. The government maps show that the track heads north via Naab se Berg and several kilometres later Bitterheuningberg (Bitter Honey Mountain), where you will eventually reach a Y-junction. A left turn will take you westwards via Geselskapbank (Conversation Ledge) and get you back onto the main gravel road between Springbok (60 km) and Pofadder (130 km). We have not yet filmed this poort in real time, so all the information on this page, is based on research, Google Earth and map-work. Some of the exit/entry tracks could lead over private or restricted land. We would appreciate feedback from anyone who has driven this poort and knows this area.

For anyone who ventures along these vague roads with an adventurous spirit, do so with caution and a sense of responsibility. Take the necessary recovery equipment with you in case of an emergency. These should preferably include two spare wheels, a puncture repair kit (and the knowledge of how to use it), a HiLift Jack or sand jack, tools, basic spare parts (like a hose set), emergency food and water, a compass, maps and a satellite phone. A well equipped medical kit is also useful to travel with. As you travel make a note of each farm and the distance you are from it. It could be a life saver. The easiest is to mark each farm as a waypoint as you travel.

Fact File:

GPS START  S29.318116 E18.030617
GPS SUMMIT S29.318116 E18.030617
GPS END  S29.294246 E18.099857
SURFACE Gravel / Two spoor track
DATE FILMED 10.12.2016
NEAREST TOWN Steinkopf (36 km)

Route Map:

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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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