Mountain Passes

The old Du Toits Kloof Pass (officially designated as the R101) is 11km longer than the newer N1 route, and is certainly worth choosing over the new route if you're not in a hurry! Its grand, dramatic mountain views and elegantly constructed, tunnel whisks one back in time to an older, almost forgotten era -- when World War 2 impactfully changed the world with its bombs, genocide and bittersweet victories.  

The Langkloof Poort is a well-known and much-loved route by off-roaders  which  links the town of Montagu with the Ouberg Pass and the Karoo highlands and gives access to the Anysberg Nature Reserve and the small town of Touws River. The road crosses back and forth across the Kingna river up to 18 times via concreted drifts! It is, to all intents and purposes, a lower extension of the Ouberg Pass; the two are typically driven as one long pass.

 

This particular Ouberg Pass (there are another three - two in the Northern Cape: one near Sutherland and the other near Gifberg with the fourth one being in the Eastern Cape near Graaff-Reinet) is a well-designed 7.3 km gravel pass linking the town of Montagu with the Karoo highlands and remote towns like Sutherland, Matjiesfontein and Touwsrivier as well as providing an access route to the fabulous Anysberg Nature Reserve. It is a perennial favourite with offroad clubs and touring bikers, but due to its good design and reasonable gradients, is suitable for all vehicles. The upper part of the pass near the summit is sometimes mapped and referenced as Koppie se Nek or Tolletjie se Poort. Both of these names are not proper passes or poorts and they fall within the geographical range and distance limits of the Ouberg Pass.

The relatively unknown Joubertspoort Pass is an 11.8km farm road, close to Montagu in the Western Cape, but well worth exploring. It takes you past quaint little farm labourers' cottages and green pastures to the head of the poort from where it is 4x4 only territory up a steep jeep track. Once you reach the last farm, a rough jeep track winds up into the mountains and exits about halfway up the famous Ouberg Pass. This last section is strictly for 4x4 vehicles only --- good ground clearance and low range is essential! It provides magnicicent views in complete tranquility and isolation. It is best tackled with a minimum of two vehicles.

 

The Cogmanskloof Pass connects the towns of Ashton and Montagu. Its entire 6.5 km stretches through a majestic landscape of towering rock formations and a colourful pastoral patchwork, which delights the eye and invigorates the heart! Renamed after the popular Cape Colonial Secretary, John Montagu, the town's original name of Cogmanskloof is where this pass took its name from.

 

Escape the busy drudge of the N7 traffic by taking the 15,7 km long Nieuwoudts Pass, known also as the Cederberg Pass. It links the Algeria Valley in the southern Cederberg, with the coastal hinterland to the west via the N7. Lying between the two small farming towns of Clanwillliam and Citrusdal, this gravel road has patches of poor surfacing and is often badly corrugated, which requires requires slow, cautious driving. Despite the rough surfaces, the gradients are seldom worse than 1:10. The views are jaw-dropping - especially on the eastern side along the Algeria valley. Watch your speed as there are some dangerous corners with unprotected and steep drop-offs.

The 4.7 km, gravel Uitkyk Pass marries the northern and southern Cederberg Wilderness areas. Of medium length and fairly steep, this pass is true to its name, which translates as 'Look Out', providing endless vistas of the unique Cederberg mountains, with the Algeria Valley beckoning down below with it's beautiful grassed campsites and refreshing rock pools. The pass is sometimes listed as the Cederberg Pass and the old pass (which runs up the eastern side of the ravine) which it replaced, is listed as the "Old Uitkyk Pass". To add to the confusion, the sign board at the foot of the pass reads UITKYK PASS. Take your pick! There is another Uitkyk Pass in Mpumalanga, so 'Cederberg Pass' would have been a wiser choice. Some maps also show the Nieuwoudts Pass as the Cederberg Pass.  There is another pass on the Wupperthal Road further to the north-east also called Uitkyk Pass on older maps, which has had a sensible name change to Hoek-se-berg Pass.

Travelling on an unmarked gravel road through the Karoo, a seemingly endless herd of Angora goats forced us to stop the car, and allow the ancient farm scene unfolding before us to take us back in time...  Whilst this is not a mountain pass, we have added this page in as a general interest item. This road does not form part of our national passes database.

In this video clip, the entire herd of goats was controlled by the farmer in a 'bakkie' with single Border Collie ensuring there were no strays and at end of this 2 km long goat herd, two goat herders ensured they all entered a gate to a new pasture.

This was the first road between George and Oudtshoorn. The Montagu Pass was opened in 1848, having taken 3 years to build by some 250 convicts at a cost of 36,000 Pounds Sterling. It lays claim to being the oldest, unaltered pass still in use in South Africa and covers 17,3 kms of magnificently scenic narrow, gravel road driving, ascending to the tiny hamlet of Herold, on the northern side of the Outeniqua Mountains. The pass was built to replace the highly dangerous and extremely difficult Cradock Pass, which still exists today, but as a tough hiking trail. The pass was named after Sir John Montagu, who was the colonial secretary of the Cape at the time.

 

The mysteriously named Phantom Pass is the final pass on the Garden Route's string of "Seven Passes" between George and Knysna. The 7,4 km of narrow, gravel road descends to the famously picturesque Knysna River Lagoon, and finds its end-point at the N2. The other six passes are listed at the bottom of this page for easy reference and access.

 

Mountain Passes South Africa

Our website is 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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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.
 

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.

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