This is a fairly easy gravel traverse through the Witberge in the Karoo via a kloof, offering great Karoo scenery of plains and mountains. It's a road that needs to be driven slowly and offers a 50+ km gravel alternative to the congested and truck laden N1 highway. You can enjoy this pass, as well as the Varsbokkloof and Rooinek passes before arriving back in Laingsburg. The pass is 7,5 km long and has an easy average gradient of just 1:136.
This is a lovely gravel pass on the little travelled back road that parallels the southern side of the N1 between Laingsburg and Touws River. It gives access to the Witteberg area and includes the beautiful Witteberg Private Nature Reserve as well as a number of farms that operate along this remote Karoo valley. The pass has an unusual profile in that it has a long plateau in the middle with steep ascents and descents on either end.
This is a short, but very scenic gravel road that follows the poort of a small river. The exposed and almost vertical rocks on the southern side of the kloof are dramatic and some of the rock formations are well worth exploring. The road crosses the (usually dry) riverbed four times in rapid succession. The pass is just under 2 km in length and only has one steep section near the eastern end, where the gradients are at 1:6.
The Wasbank Pass which translates into 'Washing Bank', is a short gravel pass on the R323/P315 road about 30 km south of Laingsburg. It is one of five passes and poorts on this very scenic road and traverses the Rooikoof farm via a small ravine. The pass ascends 75 vertical metres over 1,24 km producing an average gradient of 1:17 with the steepest section being at 1:8
Volstruisnek is a relatively minor pass located on the R323/P315 road south of Laingsburg in the Karoo and forms part of a series of passes and poorts on this fabulous Karoo back road, which is peppered with game sightings and exquisite mountain scenery. This is the smallest of the five passes and has no apparent dangers, providing speed limits are adhered to. The road is suitable for all vehicles.
This interesting gravel pass is located (as the name suggests) in the Klein Swartberg mountains about 40 km south of Laingsburg on the R323/P315 road. It is one of a series of passes and poorts in the area, which provide a fascinating range of options. The pass was built by Thomas Bain in 1880. Please read the detailed notes carefully as there is one very dangerous section on this pass you should be aware of.
This very old gravel pass, which was once a toll road in the late 1880's lies south-east of the Klein Swartberg Pass between Laingsburg in the north and Ladismith in the south. With an easy average gradient of 1:36 over 8,5 km the pass can be driven in any vehicle and offers pleasant kloof scenery with the Klein Swartberg mountain [1164,5m] dominating the views to the right. The highlight of the pass is the original dry stone walling which still supports the road. There is a high probability that this pass was built by Thomas Bain, who also built the nearby Klein Swartberg Pass in 1880.
The Prinsrivier Pass should not be confused with the Prinsrivierpoort, which lies a few kms fiurther to the south east, on the same river. It's an unofficial pass and is technically a mixture between a pass and a poort. Whatever you decide to call it, you can enjoy a beautiful traverse of the Prinsrivier Valley with its green pastures. There are some very tight corners, narrow bridges and fairly steep gradients to keep the route interesting with fabulous views of big mountains on either side of the road. You can also pay a visit to the Prinsrivier Dam, with its crystal clear mountain waters.
This unofficial gravel pass lies to the south of the Anysberg mountains along the course of the Touwsrivier where the Sewefontein farmlands form a ribbon of green pastures along the banks of the river. The pass descends into the valley from the west, then crosses the river and follows the northern bank for some distance before ascending up the eastern side. It's a fairly easy pass in terms of road surface and gradients, but there are a few dangers to be aware of.
A fairly steep gravel pass on a minor farm road between Verkykerskop in the south and Vrede in the north. The pass has an altitude variance of 175 vertical metres over 2,4 km to summit at 1949m, producing an average gradient of a stiff 1:13. This one will be slippery when wet and lethal when it snows.
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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