Its claim to fame is that it is the final pass after the Nardouwskloof Pass that delivers motorists to the Cederberg's beautitul Bushmans Cave Amphitheatre. It's named after a nearby peak Kraaibosberg (Crow Bush Mountain) [633,7m] which can be seen to your right at the start of the pass. At 3,6 km this pass is fairly short and it descends a substantial 250m producing an average gradient of 1:14 which places it fairly high up on the national rankings in terms of steepness.
This 7,8 km attractive gravel pass has a substantial altitude drop of 494m as it descends from the Elandsfontein farm through the Kransvleikloof following the course of a small river amongst high crags through a cool and shady kloof. It terminates at a T-junction with the N7 highway. There is some confusion about the name of the kloof with some references calling it the Jakkalsvleikloof. The official government maps show the higher section of the kloof to be Kransvleikloof, followed by the lower section, which is named Jakkalsvleikloof. Then to add fuel to the fire, the next section after the gravel road joins the N7, is again called Kransvleikloof. The last farm along the descent on the right hand side of the road is also called Kransvleikloof. So, for the puposes of this website and having to give this pass an indexed name, we are going with Kransvleikloof.
Thyshoogte is named after the Thyskraal farm, through which it passes. This pass precedes Jukhoogte to it's south-west in fairly quick succession on the gravel R356 route between Sutherland and Ceres.. Like Jukhoogte, this pass similarly has a few nasty surprises with negative banking, and some sharp dips and corners. There is one hairpin bend which also hosts the steepest gradient. This pass gets extremely slippery after rain or snow and it has no safety rail on the drop side, where the drops offs are very steep. Drive slowly and with caution.
The pass is 4,5 km long and has an altitude variance of 152m which converts into an average gradient of 1:30, but the steepest section near the summit gets as steep as 1:6
Most travellers are not even aware of this pass, as they travel the long and generally flat gravelled R356 across the flat plains of the Ceres and Tankwa Karoo between Sutherland and Ceres. This is the last meaningful change in terrain since having passed through the Windheuvel and Thyshoogte passes, several kilometres further to the north-east.
This tricky little pass, whilst not boasting any extreme statistics, has been the undoing of many an unsuspecting driver, as things can get decidedly slippery when the rains do eventually arrive. There are a number of very sharp bends and dips, some of which have negative banking and loose gravel. Proceed with caution and don't underestimate this pass!
The pass is 3,4 km long and exhibits an altitude variance of 103m which converts into an average gradient of 1:32 with the steeper parts getting into the 1:9 range.
If you didn't know it had a name, this little poort (wisely listed in the Afrikaans diminutive, so as not to be taken seriously) would be gone in the blink of an eye and you would be none the wiser. Some maps and references also call this poort "Die Poort se Nek" This is about as obscure as any pass can get. It lies on a remote gravel road (the P2259) about 40 km due east of Sutherland. It is of some significance in that together with its sister poort (Bloupoort) a few kilometers to the west, these two little poorts are important landmarks on your journey to the fabulous Karelskraal Pass a little further on.
This gem of a pass is a well hidden secret, which lies in an isolated valley to the north of the Klipbokkrans and Baviaansberg mountains [1946m] and follows the natural kloof formed to the south of the Grasberg mountain [1638m]. It lies on the east/west axis and at 16,1 km is quite a long pass. It's not only long in terms of distance, but in time too. You will need at least 1,5 hours to complete the kloof itself and that excludes the southern return leg over many kilometres of farm roads.
Multiple farm gates and to a fairly dodgy road, which can be in various states of disrepair, all add to the remote and rugged allure. It's best done in a 4x4 or at least a "bakkie" with good ground clearance and diff-lock. Despite the average gradient being an easy 1:30, there are some very steep parts, especially near the summit, which reach 1:6. During winter and after rain, there are multiple river crossings to negotiate, none of which are crossed over any bridges. The rewards however, are magnificent.
The Buffelshoek Pass should be viewed in conjunction with the Middelberg Pass as it is to all intents and purposes the southern half of the Middelberg Pass. The pass takes its name from the nearby Buffelshoek farming area and translates from Afrikaans into 'Buffalo Corner' undoubtedly relating to the presence of buffaloes here in the 1800's. The pass is gravel and generally maintained to a good standard. It offers fabulous views over the valley when driven from north to south (descending) - views that stretch back to the south as far as the eye can see in a blend of greenery and rugged mountains. It does sometimes snow on the pass, but during the summer months, it is hot and dry.
The pass compresses 30 bends, corners and curves into its 5,3 km length ranging from gentle curves to some extremely tight hairpins. Most of the steeper parts are in the upper reaches of the pass which also include most of the sharper corners, whilst the lower part of the pass through the farming area is much milder in terms of severity of bends and easier gradients. The pass is suitable for all cars, but be warned the surface can be rutted and rough at times, depending on when it was last maintained. We strongly recommend tyre deflation by at least 20% for any vehicle driving the pass.
This pass is in reality just the initial climb leading from the Dwyka river to the start of the Rammelkop Pass. There are many references to the two passes being one pass, but the initial part of the climb traverses the farm Allemanshoek, thus causing plenty of confusion. To keep things simple, we have treated these as two separate passes.
The Karoo Poort is a very old route followed by the first settlers, and together with the Hottentots Kloof, formed the only route to the north (and the Karoo) from Cape Town through Ceres. The road is a typical poort, with easy gradients, following the course of a (mainly dry) river-bed through a natural gap in the mountains. The construction was managed by Andrew Bain and built by Adam de Smidt, who would later become Andrew Bain's son-in-law and Thomas Bain's brother in law. The pass is gravel, except for a small section of just over a kilometer and a half, where the tarring was no doubt done to protect the Karoopoort farm orchards from dust. The original old farmstead is on the right hand side of the road (west) when driving from east to west and looking its age these days. It is the only farm in the poort.
Diepgezet Pass is located in eastern Mpumalanga, about 40 km south of Barberton and very close to the northern border of Swaziland (which was renamed to Eswatini in 2018). The entire pass falls within the boundaries of the Songimvelo Nature Reserve, but there are no restrictions or gate fees applicable. It connects the tarred R40 route from near the Josefsdal (Bulembu) border post with the mostly-abandoned mining town of Diepgezet.
The gravelled road is in a reasonable condition and can be driven in a normal vehicle, but a high-clearance vehicle is recommended and a 4x4 would probably be required in wet weather. The pass offers up spectacular mountain scenery and has a height an altitude variance of 738 metres, putting it in the top 3% of the highest altitude-gaining passes in South Africa. The name is derived from Dutch and means “located deep” (within a valley).
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.
We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.