Kastrolnek translates into 'Saucepan Neck' and it will be a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire" if you venture over this pass during a snowstorm, as the maximum altitude is an energy-sapping 2030m ASL, but mostly it's a safe and straightforward drive in dry weather conditions. The pass is 6.8 km long and ascends 233 vertical metres producing some very steep gradients of up to 1:6. The pass connects Piet Retief with Wakkerstroom on the tarred R543.
This gentle tarred pass is located in southern Mpumalanga, very close to the border with KwaZulu-Natal. It lies on the R543 between the small towns of Volksrust in the west and Wakkerstroom in the east. On a clear day both places are visible in the far distance from the summit. The pass runs from east to west in a mostly dead-straight line, except for a shallow S-bend near the summit where the road crosses over a railway track. No real dangers except for stray farm animals or over-excited twitchers present themselves, but snow can be experienced here in winter, in which case extreme care should be exercised on the slippery roads.
This pass is straightforward with no sharp curves or steep gradients. It is of significant historical value in that this was the scene of a fierce battle during the Anglo-Boer war. The Battle of Allemansnek took place on 11th June 1900 between the Boer forces and the British army under General Buller. After this battle the Boers, fearing that they would be surrounded, retreated from Laingsnek. Buller occupied both Volksrust and Charlestown.
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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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