Colling's Pass is located in the Drakensberg close to the KZN/Free State border and connects mainly the farming areas east of Harrismith with the Natal Midlands areas of Dundee and Newcastle. It is a high altitude, gravel road which is subject to severe weather conditions with electrical thunderstorms in summer and heavy snow in winter.
This scenically beautiful tarred pass is 4,1 km long and has the S61 route designation. It rises through 277 vertical meters to summit at 1720m ASL. The average gradient is 1:15 with the steepest sections being 1:11. There is frequently snow here in winter, which can make the pass extremely dangerous.
A serious off-road route up (or down) the Drakensberg escarpment between the Vulintaba Country Estate in KZN and the farming area in the Free State near Memel. This one is for very experienced 4x4 drivers and MTB riders only - and is challenging, technical and steep. The pass is 3,23 km long and ascends 378m over that distance producing an average gradient of 1:8,5 with the steepest parts being at 1:3, making this the second steepest pass in South Africa. Vehicles will need to be full 4x4 with high ground clearance, low range and be equipped with recovery gear. The route traverses private property, so permission is required from both land owners.
This is a serious off-road route that connects the farm Pivaanswaterval in the west with Commissiekraal in the east via the Magidela and Kwa Mantola mountains. The pass is very steep in places and this traverse would be something of an expedition requiring proper high clearance 4WD vehicles with suitable recovery equipment. Being self-sufficient and being able to navigate around an ever changing track would be pre-requisites. Allow several hours to complete this pass and it would be best avoided in the rainy season.
Like most landmarks in this area of KZN, the names have a strong Scottish influence. This is a fairly minor climb up a long hill with few bends and no inherent dangers in the pass itself, other than low visibility in mountain mists. It is 5,6 km long and ascends 171 vertical metres over that distance, producing an easy average gradient of 1:33, with the steepest parts at 1:12. There is a short section from the 3,7 to 4,3 km marks which is flat, whereafter the climbing continues all the way into the town of Glencoe.
A straightforward rise up a natural neck with an altitude gain of 114m over 4.06 km, producing an average gradient of 1:36, but the section near the summit is quite steep at 1:7. The pass is one of two similar necks on the R33 between Dundee and Vryheid.
Located a few kilometres south-east of the town of Estcourt in KZN, this 6,8 km tarred pass connects the towns of Estcourt and Mooi River on the R103 route, which is the old national road between Johannesburg and Durban. Whilst the road is fairly straightforward, it does climb 279 vertical metres producing an average gradient of 1:24, with the steepest parts being at 1:19. The road is suitable for all traffic.
The Grobbelaarskloof Pass is named after a farm which is actually in the next kloof to the east. This pass is also commonly known as Colenso Heights. It descends into Colenso from the north-west and is part of the old tarred main road (R103) between Colenso and Ladysmith. The road drops just under 200m in altitude over 5.7 km producing an easy average gradient of 1:29, with the steepest parts being at 1:10. It's a fairly minor pass in the greater scheme of things, but like many of the smaller neks and passes in this area, it's jam packed with battlefields history.
This scenic, high-altitude, gravel pass connects local farms north of Utrecht with the area to the north at Groenvlei. The pass ascends 304 m over 6,16 km producing an average gradient of 1:20, with the steepest section near the summit getting as steep as 1:11. It snows here in winter, in which case this pass would best be avoided unless in a suitable 4x4 with the appropriate equipment to deal with snow. The pass is also subject to violent electrical storms and even tornadoes on the odd occassion.
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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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