This gravel farm road traverses a small gap in the mountains known as Eseljagpoort (Donkey Hunt Ravine). It crosses the farm of the same name and runs along the NW/SE axis and connects the Langlkoof from the tarred N9 with Heimersrivier, Oudtshoorn and Dysselsdorp in the Little Karoo. It provides an interesting alternative to the main tarred roads. Whilst this poort is minor in every respect, it does provide a feeling of distinct isolation and unusual tranquility.
Killians Pass is located on a gravel road (P2945) about 20 km due west of Kamieskroon on the N7 in the heart of Namaqualand on the way to Soebatsfontein. To the west of the pass the road forks, with the lelt hand fork heading to Hondeklipbaai on the Atlantic coast, whilst the right hand route heads northwards to Komaggas. The pass is not a major one in terms of altitude gained or distance, but it is very steep in places with gradients of 1:5 over certain sections. Due to the arid climate, rain seldom falls here, which makes the pass reasonably safe to drive at almost any time of the year.
This smallish gravel pass lies between the Bakenshoogte and Komsberg passes on a gravel road (P2243) which forms an eastern loop off the R354 between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland. The pass is straightforward and has only a single, right hand S-bend near the summit. It ascends 176m in altitude to summit at 1236m, producing an average gradient of 1:16 and a maximum gradient of 1:14. Smoushoogte translates into Trader's Heights.
The usual gravel road cautionaries apply of loose gravel on corners, corrugations and a possibility of picking up a puncture. The P2243 is one of the best gravel roads in the region to see the spring flower explosion between August and September.
This smallish pass is located on a gravel road (P2243) that starts and ends at two different points on the R354 between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland. It provides an interesting alternative to the mainstream Verlatenkloof Pass route, but is longer and slower. This road traverses three passes in a long left hand loop to the west before it rejoins the R354 near the summit of the Verlatenkloof Pass. The three passes include this pass (Bakenshoogte), Smoushoogte and the much bigger Komsberg Pass. Bakenshoogte translates into Beacon Heights.
The pass is 4,6 km long and displays an altitude variance of 103m producing an average gradient of a comfortable 1:45 with the steepest parts near the summit reaching 1:16. Add in only 6 gentle curves and you have an easy and safe drive ahead of you. The pass offers magnificent wildflowers in springtime and traverses very close by two attractive farm-steads.
This fairly steep gravel pass lies between Rankins Pass in the east (40 km) and Thabazimbi 18 km to the south-west. Note that Rankin's Pass is not a pass, but a tiny SAPS outpost and a small general dealers store. Bakkers Pass summits at 1464m and descends a total of 314 vertical metres producing an average gradient of 1:14. The steepest sections are at 1:8. We recommend using a reasonable clearance vehicle for this road as it gets a bit rough in places. An SUV, bakkie or 4x4 will cope well.
This short, but scenic gravel pass traverses the Wadrift farm approximately 30 km north of Heidelberg in the Western Cape. It follows immediately where the Seekoeigat Pass ends and is flanked to the north by the towering Kanetberg (one of the main mountains within the Langeberg range) and the gentle waters of the Duiwenhoks River can be seen to the south. This is the final of the five access passes for those wishing to drive the historic (and rough) Gysmanshoek Pass, which is accessed where this pass ends.
This substantial gravel pass can be found in the foothills of the Langeberg about 15 km north west of Heidelberg in the Western Cape. It provides exceptional views and interesting driving on a gravel road that can get very tricky when wet. In addition frequent flooding of the low level bridge at the Seekoeigat farm can be problematic after rain. The 11,3 km long pass has an altitude variance of 387m with some very stiff gradients of up to 1:5. Most of these occur on the first southern ascent. This pass also has the unusual feature of having a major and minor summit within its length.
The Doringkraal Pass is a short, low altitude gravel pass on a farm road approximately 10 km north-west of Heidelberg in the foothills of the Langeberg. The road follows the southern side of the Duiwenhoksrivier (Dove Cage River) and terminates at the point where the road crosses the river over a low level concrete bridge. This road is drivable in a normal sedan vehicle, but traction issues can happen if conditions are muddy.
This steep gravel pass offers spectaular views over the Duiwenhoksrivier valley tucked right up into the green rolling foothills of the Langeberg, between the Tradouw and Garcia passes on a minor gravel road, which offers several pass driving options as it is also the access road to the Gysmanshoek pass.
The road is suitable for normal sedan vehicles, providing it has not been raining in which case some of the low level bridges might be impassable. On the steeper gradients, FWD cars might have traction issues in wet weather.
This steep gravel pass descends/ascends the northern end of the Nardousberg mountain - a north/south oriented range to the east of the Olifants River, approximately 40 km north of Clanwilliam. It is the final section of the road that connects the main gravel road to the Bushmans Cave Amphitheatre to the gravel (R363) road on the east side of the Olifants River. The road is maintained to a good standard and providing speed limits are adhered to, all traffic should manage this pass comfortably.
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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