Jakkalskuilnek (“Jackal Den Pass”) is a rough and tough 4x4 pass located on the eastern Limpopo escarpment. The official guide to points of interest in this area, the Waterberg Meander, lists the name as Elandskuiling Pass, but all other references use the given name. Although the pass appears to be fairly innocuous based on its statistics, it is definitely worth your while to make the effort to seek it out, provided that you are driving an appropriate vehicle.
This pass is located close to Rankins Pass (which is something of a misnomer as it is not a pass, but an outpost) and runs on the north/south axis via a deep kloof through the Sandriviersberge. It is a gravel road of only 3,35km and rises 132m over that distance, producing an average gradient of 1:20 with the steepest parts being at 1:7. The start of the pass crosses the Rhenosterpoort farm, which offers excellent self catering cottages in pristine bushveld settings.
Set amongst the brooding cliffs and magnificent mountains of the eastern Limpopo escarpment, this stunning pass comes as an unexpected and welcome surprise when travelling on the R518 between Mokopane and Marken. With 26 corners, one of which is a sharp hairpin of 160 degrees with a long bridge at its apex; a length of almost 10 km and a height gain of 415 metres, this beautiful pass could be counted amongst the top passes in the country. It is also eerily reminiscent of the Oudeberg (ouberg) Pass near Graaff-Reniet in the Eastern Cape.
Although this pass appears to have been named after the now extinct Quagga, which died out in South Africa at the end of the 19th century, it is far more likely that it was named after Burchell’s Zebra, a plains zebra which is often colloquially called the Kwagga. The Quaggas habitat never extended north of the Vaal River, whereas the zebra was, and still is, common in this area. This gravel pass is just 3.3 kms long, and has a mild average gradient of 1:25. The pass and the approach roads are generally in a good condition, and should present no problems for any type of vehicle, weather dependant.
Lenong is a tarred but difficult pass located within the boundaries of the Marakele National Park near Thabazimbi. This very narrow road clings precariously to the side of a mountain, with extreme unprotected drop-offs – if you suffer from acrophobia, then this pass is definitely not for you! If you do make it to the summit, the wonderful scenic vistas over the reserve and the Waterberg massif from the various viewpoints make all of the effort worthwhile. A 4x4 is not required, but you will need to negotiate some gravel roads as part of the access route.
This is one of the great classic passes of Limpopo province. It has less than 20 passes in total, but amongst those are some of the finest scenic passes in the land. This pass climbs 446 vertical meters to summit at 1400m ASL producing an average gradient of 1:17 with the steepest parts being at 1:9. The pass is tarred and is suitable for all vehicles.
Martjie Se Nek is a gravel road pass situated near Vaalwater in the Limpopo province. The road is wide and in good condition for most of the pass, but there are sections that have been heavily damaged by water runoff, necessitating the use of a high clearance vehicle, although a 4x4 would not be required. The clay surface of the road is badly corrugated, and would become treacherous in wet weather. The views from the flat section near the summit towards the south are magnificent, and provide a seemingly never-ending vista over the plains below the escarpment.
Olieboomspoort is located directly to the south of the small town of Lephalale (formerly Ellisras) in the Limpopo province. It parallels the course of the Rietspruit river, which has carved its way through the low hills surrounding the area, on the tarred R510 road. The pass is a little longer than the national average and, unlike most other poorts, has a significant altitude gain of 145 metres. There are no apparent dangers other than some sharpish corners, and the poort can be driven in any vehicle, irrespective of the weather conditions.
This true offroad pass covers almost 30 km of rough dirt road and jeep tracks as it traverses the Drakensberg through the Lekgamaleetse Provincial Nature Reserve. Due to the technical nature of this pass, we have broken it up into two sections - Part 1 West and Part 2 East. This road is only suitable for high clearance 4x4 vehicles and adventure motor cyclists.
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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