01. The challenge is open and free to 4x4 vehicles, adventure motorcycles, MTB riders, walkers and trail runners. (Note that it is not possible to complete some of the passes in a normal car). MTB cyclists, walkers and runners are permitted to move between passes per vehicle.
To drive ten specific high altitude gravel passes within a time frame of seven days, whilst enjoying the beautiful Eastern Cape highlands scenery. In the process you will be supporting eco-tourism in this remote part of the Eastern Cape, thereby uplifting the local population.
01. Ben MacDhui Pass (3001m)
02. Carlisleshoekspruit Pass (2563m)
03. Volunteershoek Pass (2581m]
04. Naudes Nek Pass (2590m]
05. Lundin’s Nek Pass (2170m)
06. Joubert’s Pass (2234m)
07. Bastervoetpad Pass (2240m]
08. TTT [Tiffindell-Tenahead Traverse] (2720m)
09. Otto du Plessis Pass (2115m)
10. Barkly Pass (2018m)
Drive, ride, cycle, run or walk all 10 passes within 7 days, taking time to discover the natural wonders of the Eastern Cape Highlands and enjoy the local hospitality. This is not a race, but rather an opportunity to embrace eco-tourism in its finest form. The best places to secure accommodation are around Rhodes. Please support the businesses that are supporting this challenge and providing the prizes, which include 2 nights free accommodation. The prizes will be drawn by lucky draw once we reach the first 20 completed entries and again at 40 entries, ad infinatum.
Entry Form link below.
Will be awarded by lucky draw once the first 20 entries have been completed and then again after the next 20 and so on. There are several prizes on offer which include weekend accommodation, MPSA gear and more.
Here is a video made by Stefan Boshoff, which illustrates just how tough the challenge really is (especially as the entire challenge was completed in a day:
Dulcie’s Nek is a minor pass located in a forgotten corner of South Africa, in a triangle formed by the borders of the Eastern Cape, Free State and Lesotho. No trace can be found to indicate who the “Dulcie” was that the pass is named after. The road is tarred, is in an excellent condition, and can be driven in any vehicle. The area is the birthplace of Olive Schreiner, one of South Africa’s best-known and beloved authors, and the creator of a classic tale about pastural life in the Karoo, “The Story of an African Farm”.
The Bottelnek Pass is a very steep, gravel pass in a remote part of the Eastern Cape roughly 25 km north of Elliot (as the crow flies). The 5,1 km long pass has an altitude variance of 193 metres to summit at 2204m ASL producing an average gradient of 1:26 with the steepest sections being at 1:5. In wet weather non 4WD vehicles will have traction issues. It snows regularly on this pass during winter and the usual snow-driving cautionaries apply. Although this pass can be driven in a normal sedan, we would rather recommend a high clearance vehicle and definitely a 4x4 in rainy or muddy conditions.
This little-known pass is located in a wild and remote area of the Eastern Cape near Barkly East. It forms the northern access route into Heuningneskloof (“Honey Nest Ravine”), a long valley formed by a tributary of the Kraai River. The use of a 4x4 vehicle is strongly recommended, although a high-clearance vehicle could probably traverse the pass, albeit with some difficulty. It lies far off the beaten track, and some accurate navigational skills and common sense will be required to find it. For those that do make the effort, you will be rewarded with exceptional views, the peace and quiet of an unspoilt environment, and some challenging driving.
Benjaminshoogte Pass is a high altitude pass with a summit of just under 2000m ASL. It follows a natural kloof into the north-west, which later follows the Karringsmelkspruit (Butter Milk Stream) valley, as it descends from the high mountains in the east from Glen Doone and Lupela Lodge. On the left hand side of the road is the well known (and now defunct) 6 part rail reversing sections, which can be seen from the pass. The pass has a fairly comfortable average gradient of 1:23 and drops 336 metres in altitude over 7,8 km. The steepest sections are near the bottom of the pass at 1:11.
This beautfully scenic, high altitude, modern tarred pass is located on the R58 between Barkly East and Lady Grey. The 10 km long pass descends steadily through majestic mountain scenery to cross the dominant local river, the Kraai River (Crow River) at approximately the halfway point. The descent down the western side offers fabulous views of the Kraai River which has carved a series of serpentine like bends through the landscape. This is a safe, well engineered road, providing the speed limits are adhered to, but dangerous when there is snow or ice on the road.
The e-Roma pass is named in the Xhosa tongue, where many English words are prefixed by an "e". This steep gravel pass sweeps up the western ridge of a mountain just north of the small town of Cala and to the west of the Tsomo River valley. The pass is just under 5 km in length and climbs 267 vertical metres to summit at 1423m. Some of the gradients are quite steep at 1:7 and in rainy weather smaller cars might have some traction issues. In fair weather the pass is suitable for all vehicles. Watch out for local vehicles, which seem to disregard the rules of the road. They can often be encountered completely on the wrong side of the road (avoiding corrugations) or driving very fast or very slowly. Be prepared for all eventualities and remain alert. There is also the standard problem of encountering livestock.
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.
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.