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This pass lies 12km to the NE of Lydenburg on a private nature rerseve. Translated it means Gold Fields Pass. It is a gravel pass but is generally maintained to a reasonable level and will be suitable for most vehicles in dry weather. Like all gravel roads, they can quickly deteriorate in rainy weather and become slippery, muddy, corrugated and potholed. The pass traverses a narrow valley bisected by the Spekboomrivier, which boasts two classically designed high arched, stone bridges along it's course - the downstream bridge is the old road bridge and the one about 2 km further upstream is the rail bridge, but the rail bridge is not visible from the R36. The valley opens up progressively towards the south-east. This is a dead end road and lies on private property and is only accessible to guests staying at one of the lodges in the Mount Anderson Reserve.

Published in Mpumalanga

Wilgekraal Pass is located on a rough gravel road which forms an alternative route to the R36 between eNtokozweni (Machadodorp) and Mashishing (Lydenburg) in Mpumalanga. The pass, which translates from Afrikaans to English as “Willow Tree Corral”, is named after the Wilgekraalspruit, a small tributary of the Crocodile River which parallels the pass for its entire length. It is almost 7 kilometres long and has a height gain of nearly 400 metres, making it a fairly significant pass. The road surface is good although quite rocky, and can be driven in any vehicle provided that the weather conditions allow.

Published in Mpumalanga

This 5 km long pass is fairly steep with gradients of up to 1:10. It connects Lydenburg in the north-east with Machadodorp in the south-west.The pass gains 218m in altitude and summits at 1531m ASL. It holds a good safety record and the curves are gentle and comfortable. The pass offers expansive views over the Kwena Basin and paragliders are often seen here using the lift off the ridges to stay aloft.

Cautionary : At the time of filming the R36 in its entirety is riddled with potholes to the point of being dangerous to drive on. This includes both the passes on this road - Witklip se Hoogte and Chomse se Hoogte. The road is scheduled for reconstruction in 2016/2017.

 

 

Published in Mpumalanga

Koffiehoogte is in reality, an integral part of the triplet passes of Masjiennek, Long Tom and Koffiehoogte, which form a virtually continuous pass between Lydenburg and Sabie. Koffiehoogte is the most easterly of the three and forms the connecting section between Long Tom Pass and the Lowveld town of Sabie.

Whilst this smallest of three passes is often overlooked in favour of its more glamorous sister passes, it is nontheless a substantial pass in its own right, covering a distance of 7,7 km which is well above the national average and displays an impressive altitude gain of 423m producing an average gradient of a stiff 1:18. The road is well engineered with 21 evenly radiused corners including two bends of 170 degrees each.

Add in heavy mining and logging vehicles, dense mountain mists and heavy rain, this pass needs to be taken seriously. Overtaking is difficult due to the many blind corners and almost continuous barrier lines. This in itself creates impatience and some drivers take big risks.

Published in Mpumalanga


This fairly straight-forward pass lies north of the Kwena Dam (previously known as the Braam Raubenheimer Dam) on the tarred R36 route between Machadodorp in the south-west and Lydenburg in the north-east. The pass is also known as Witklip se Hoogte.

Cautionary : At the time of filming the R36 in its entirety is riddled with potholes to the point of being dangerous to drive on. This includes both the passes on this road - Witklip se Hoogte and Chomse se Hoogte. The road is scheduled for reconstruction in 2016/2017.



Published in Mpumalanga

This straight forward north/south traverse over a natural neck is 6.4 km long and climbs 193m producing an average gradient of 1:33. It lies on the tarred R36 between Ohrigstad and Lydenburg,  The pass boasts a lofty summit altitude of 1411m but 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. At the time of filming (April 2018) the R36 was in a state of disrepair with patchy tar and many potholes. The pass straddles the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

 

 

Published in Mpumalanga

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.

 

 

Published in Mpumalanga

This big gravel pass traverses the Mokobulaan Nature Reserve and gains 625m over 19 km to produce an average gradient of 1:30. It has some fairly steep sections at 1:8. There are 48 bends, corners and curves crammed into it's 19 km length, so sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace. There are a number of cautionaries for this road which include thick mountain mists, heavy rain, slippery and muddy sections, deep ruts and washaways, logging debris on the road and the presence of heavy logging vehicles on weekdays.

The pass connects Lydenburg in the north with the N4 in the south and follows a similar direction as the Long Tom Pass some 20 km to the north. 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 follows it on the southern side on the same road.

Published in Mpumalanga

This is undoubtedly the most famous pass in Mpumalanga - and with good reason too. It is 26,2 km long (and even longer depending on where one starts measuring), plus it displays an altitude variance of 671 vertical meters through a complex network of curves as it ascends up the Drakensberg escarpment between Sabie in the east and Lydenburg in the west. The pass forms 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.

With 66 bends, corners and curves and a fairly easy average gradient of 1:39 and no part being steeper than 1:10 this pass is a magnificent spectacle with grand views and rugged frontier and Anglo-Boer War history adding to its allure.

Published in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is rich in natural beauty and what better way to experience this than driving some of the fabulous passes the province has to offer. Rich in forests with fast flowing rivers and multiple waterfalls and major attractions like the Blyde River Canyon, Bourkes Luck Potholes, Pilgrims Rest and the many game reserves, it's no wonder local and foreign tourists alike flock to this region. Often the real gems are the smaller passes tucked away in the backwaters where few people get to. Jaap se Hoogte is one of those passes.

 

Published in Mpumalanga
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Mountain Passes South Africa

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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