Nkaobee Pass (A25)

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Bridge over the Malibiamatso River Bridge over the Malibiamatso River - Photo: Shailendra Kamal

This is another big tarred pass covering 16.2 km. It is one of several big passes along the A25 and connects Seshute in the north with the Katse Dam complex in the south. There are 95 bends corners and curves to contend with, of which 23 have angles greater than 90 degrees, but there are no hairpins.

The altitude variance of 624m means lots of ascending and descending and although the road is tarred, caution needs to be exercised in terms of traffic volumes and the very real possibility of finding livestock on the road. All of Lesotho's passes are subject to winter snowfalls to varying degrees.

The pass offers very good elevated views of sections of the Katse Dam. It gives access to two airports - Katse Airport at the southern end and Seshutes airport at the northern end.

Scroll down to view the map & video. This is a provisional video consisting entirely of Google Earth animations. The pass will be filmed in real time as soon as time permits, after which this video will be upgraded. It is recommended to watch this video in HD. (Click on the "quality" button on the lower taskbar of the video screen and select 1080HD.) Wait a few seconds for the video to display.....

[Video cover photo: Google Images] 

FULL-SCREEN MODEMODE: Click PLAY, then pass your mouse over the bottom right corner of the video screen. The outline of a square will appear. Clicking on it will toggle Full Screen Mode. Press ESC to return to the original format.

Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.

Digging into the details:

Getting there: To approach from the north as we have produced it, head SSE from Lejone on the tarred A25 for 32 km via the high level bridge over the Katse Dam, then over the Laitsoka Pass, to arrive at the northern start adjacent to the Seshuse airport.

To approach from the south, take the A25 tarred road north out of Thaba-Tseka for 63 km to arrive at the southern start of the pass.

Pass Description: Starting in the north, the pass starts at the apex of a tight left hand bend near the runway of the Seshutes Airport. The road heads south, steadily gaining altiude as it worms its way in and out of the side ravines. Although the ascent is long at 6.1 km, the climb gradient is comfortable, seldom exceeding 1:14. The river visible along the ascent is the Matsoku River.

Katse Dam views View over the Katse Dam from the southern end of the pass / Photo: Google Images

The summit point comes up at an obvious neck, where the road swings quickly towards the west, where magical valley views await, as the descent commences following this big valley for the next 6 km. The gradient is gentle at first but starts getting steeper from the 9th km. In the far distance the sparkling blue waters of the Katse Dam can be seen.

At the 12 km mark, there is a major change in heading into the south, as the road now hugs the mountainside forming the eastern side of the Katse Dam. As altitude is lost, the gradients get ever steeper, reaching their maximum of 1:7 at the 14 km mark.

The turn-off to the Katse Dam wall is located at the 14.2 km point, so if you're planning on driving onto the dam wall, make a  note of the turn off. It is far better to first get to the opposite side of the river and purchase a ticket to tour the wall and attend a short talk on the history and technical aspects, before heading down to tour inside the wall, which is 60m wide at it's base.

You will be directly east of the dam wall at the 14.8 km mark and get a good view of its sheer size and scope from this point. The road continues descending rapidly for several more sharp corners, where the pass ends at the corssing of the Malibiamatso River at an altitude of 1906m at the 16.2 km mark.


Fact File:


S29.344062 E28.519400


S29.309484 E28.542068


S29.269600 E28.547628














16.2 km




25 minutes


80 kph


Tar (A25)






Thaba-Tseka (63 km)

Route Map:

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From Address:

Route files:

||Click to download: Nkaobee Pass (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

More in this category: « Lekhalong La Lesehla Pass

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