At 17,5 km the Santa Pass is one of the longer passes in South Africa. It is also a high aItitude pass with many sections being above 2000m. It is named after the Santa forestry settlement in the first valley on the western side, through which the pass traverses. It's a tarred pass on the R540 between Dullstroom 15 km to the SW and Lydenberg 45km to the north. The pass descends 396m to produce an average gradient of an easy 1:44 with the steepest parts being at 1:10. There are no warnings or cautionaries for this pass.
Schoemans Kloof on the R539 route is a major kloof following the course of the Crocodile River. The kloof is narrow and confined at it's western (higher) end where the Patata Nek Pass descends down into the wider part of the kloof. The main part of the kloof is beautifully scenic, has easy gradients and meanders through wide and easy turns through some lovely Lowveld scenery and forests. The road is modern, well designed and suitable for all vehicles.
This is a fairly serious gravel road pass located in the heart of the gold mining reefs, east of Barberton. We recommend a 4WD vehicle when the weather is wet as things could get very slippery in a normal car when these roads become muddy. The pass gains/loses 443m of altitude with some sections as steep as 1:6. It connects the Louw's Creek area in the north with the R40 close to Barberton in the west and services forestry, farming and gold mining activities.
The aptly-named Skurweberg (“Rough Mountain”) Pass winds its way down the upper Drakensberg escarpment between Machadodorp and Badplaas in Mpumalanga. The pass is much-loved by motorcyclists due to the curvy nature of the road, but it does have one or two corners which can be dangerous at high speed. It is relatively steep with an average gradient of 1:17 and descends a total of 448 metres, but the tarred road surface is good and free of potholes. Keep an eye out for monkeys and baboons, as well as domestic livestock. The pass can be driven in any vehicle and in all weather conditions.
Slaaihoek translates into Salad Corner - a most unlikely name for a major mountain pass. Slaaihoek Pass is located on a tarred cul-de-sac road which provides access to the Nkomati Mine in Mpumalanga. The road surface is in an excellent condition, which is very surprising as the route is used on a continual basis by heavy-duty mine trucks and logging vehicles. There are a total of 95 corners, bends and curves on the pass, each of which have been perfectly engineered with a constant radius, making this arguably one of the best motorcycling roads in the country, but at the same time one of the most dangerous. The name of the pass and the road is derived from the original name of the farm on which the mine is located.
Steenkampsberg Pass is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "De Berg Pass" after the highest peak in the range at an altitude of 2331m. This tarred pass joins Lydenburg in the north-east with the small settlement of Roossenekal in the SSW. It is approximately 30 km to either town. The pass gains 434 vertical meters over 17,1 km producing an average gradient of 1:20. The steepest parts are at 1:7. The scenery along the entire length of the pass is exceptional and well worth any detour you will have made to drive it.
The Sudwala Pass is located in Mpumalanga province on the tarred R539 between Sudwala Caves and Lydenburg. It starts at its northern side at 1072m ASL and rises to 1223m, descending again to 996m. The total length of the pass is 8,93 kms producing an easy gradient of 1/39 with the steepest sections presenting at 1:14. The road is suitable for all vehicles and offers easy sweeping curves with perfect Lowveld scenery. It also gives access to the Sudwala Caves and Resort a further 7,3 kms south of the pass.
The Uitkyk Pass is more commonly called the Uitkyk Road by locals. It lies just 15km to the south of Nelspruit and provides access to several farms as well as the plantations of bluegums and pines for harvesting and maintenance. It traverses sections of the Krokodilspoort mountains in the form of a large V.
This straight forward north/south traverse of a natural neck is 6.18km long and climbs 189m producing an average gradient of 1:20. It lies on the tarred R36 between Lydenburg, 25km to the south and Orighstad, 25 km to the north. The pass boasts a lofty summit altitude of 1411m. There are no apparent dangers or cautionaries for this pass other than mist at any time of the year and smoke during the fire season. The pass straddles the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo. We have allocated the pass to Mpumalanga in terms of it's connections with Robbers Pass and other history.
A fairly easy pass just north of Volksrust on the N11 with an average gradient of 1:45, but there are some steep sections at 1:8. The vertical profile is the classic up/down shape with a summit altitude of 1844m offering grand views in all directions. Volksrust is subject to winter snowfalls due to its high altitude and this pass does sometimes get closed by the traffic authorities in the event of heavy snow, which makes conditions on the pass dangerous.
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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