The Koffiehoogte Pass is in reality, an extension of the lower/eastern section of the Long Tom Pass. It starts where the Long Tom Pass ends and descends continiously from just east of the Long Tom Bomb Hole historical site at an altitude of 1672m. The 5,87 km descent runs in an easterly direction towards Sabie through dense plantations. The average gradient is a stiff 1:14, with the steepest parts being at 1:8.
This is another of the Top 5 Mpumalanga passes with stunning views and an altitude drop of 512m through the Drakensberg escarpment over 7,81 km., producing an average gradient of 1:15. This is a steep pass in places with gradients in excess of 1:4 and is on route R533. It was was completed in October 1959 and named after a local Sotho chief, Koveni who controlled the land along the track. The name, Koveni, became Anglicized to Kowyn. The area around the pass is truly 'out of this world' with a wide range of attractions for the traveller.
The Kranspoort Pass is a short tarred pass that connects Middelburg (38 km to the south) with Groblersdal (50km to the south). It is on the N11 national route system and gains 256 meters of altitude over a short distance of 3,72 km to produce an average gradient 1:14 with the steeper bits being as steep as 1:5. The descent is directly towards the Olifants River Valley that feeds the large Loskop Dam.
This beautifully scenic, but busy road is a 13 km gateway from the Lowveld to the Kruger National Park and follows the course of the Crocodile River. The gradients are very easy and even cyclists will have no issues with the pitch. It is however, a road that carries heavy traffic, so a leisurely drive through the poort enjoying the scenery is not a likely scenario. The poort plays host to the road, the railway line and the river within it's fairly narrow confines. The road, labelled as the N4, connects Nelspruit with Malelane and Komatipoort.
This easy scenic gravel pass of 4 km., connects farms in the Amersfoort area with farms in the Piet Retief/Panbult area and is a typical straightforward traverse over a natural neck in the Elandsberg range. With easy average gradients of 1:64 and some steeper sections of 1:11, the pass offers lovely views over the vast pastures in this dairy/cattle farming region of South Africa. The road is suitable for all vehicles, except in adverse weather conditions.
This is undoubtedly the most famous pass in Mpumalanga - and with good reason too. It is 22.2 km long (and even longer depending on where one starts measuring), plus it loses 682 vertical meters of altitude through a complex network of curves as it descends down the Drakensberg escarpment between Lydenburg in the west (25km) and Sabie in the east (20 km). The pass is part of the Mpumalanga Panoramic Route and carries appropriately heavy traffic both tourist and commercial. It is prone to heavy mist and can be dangerous in low visibility conditions. It is named after the famous Long Tom cannon.
This is a short, safe and attractive pass on the tarred R538 that connects White River in the south with Hazyview in the north. It is quite steep in places with a maximum gradient of 1:8 and the road follows a long valley with some dominant granite outcrops to the east. The pass is fairly short at 3,3 km and is suitable for all vehicles.
On the eastern side of the Drakensberg Escarpment, facing away from the Blyde River Canyon, is the Mariepskop complex - a mountain enclave and centre of endemism of unsurpassed beauty. You can ascend to the top where, at 1,945m above sea level, you can see the Indian Ocean and Maputo on a clear day. Mariepskop is the higest peak in the northern Drakensberg Escarpment. The view is fantastic. This decisively steep pass is 13,7 km long and climbs 1100m to summit at 1942m ASL producing an average gradient of 1:14 but some of the sections are seriously steep at 1:5. The pass rises from the Lowveld at Klaserie on the R40 and climbs up this spectacular ridge of the Drakensberg in a complex network of roads, both gravel and tarred, to give access to the towering Mariepskop (its African name is Mogologolo) which plays host to a number of government installations including an SAAF Radar Station, a microwave tower and forestry fire look-out points.
Masjiennek Pass (which translates from Afrikaans into Machine Nek Pass) is to all intents and purposes the western ascent from Lydenburg to the top of the Long Tom Pass. It starts just outside Lydenburg and climbs through 539 meters of altitude to summit at 2090m ASL after a 10,9 km traverse. This produces a comfortable average gradient of 1:20, but some sections are fairly steep at 1:8. The road is in good condition and has been well engineered. It is subject to winter snowfalls with such a high summit altitude. Together with the Koffiehoogte Pass on the eastern side of the Long Tom Pass, the trio of passes form one long continious pass between Lydenburg and Sabie.
This big gravel pass traverses the Mokobulaan Nature Reserve and gains 625m over 19km to produce an average gradient of 1:30. It has some very steep sections at 1:4. The pass connects Lydenburg in the north with the N4 in the south. It has a summit height of 1921m ASL producing sweeping views over the valleys and kloofs. This pass should be viewed/read in conjunction with the Wonderkloof Pass which precedes it on the southern side on the same road.
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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