The low, rocky ridge that separates downtown Johannesburg from the northern suburbs is called Linksfield Ridge. One of the roads that connects these two areas is called Sylvia's Pass. It is on record as being the shortest official pass in South Africa, but is nontheless quite steep along most of its length. The road forms part of the M33 suburban route and conencts the Observatory area with Orange Grove. Many locals prefer this route to the more congested Louis Botha Avenue.
Located in a cleft in the Wiwatersberg - the mountain range that paralells the Magaliesberg to the south, this 4,7 km pass climbs 147 vertical metres offering some fairly steep gradients, gentle curves and sweeping views over the Hartbeespoort Dam and valley. It is however, a very busy road and will continue to carry heavy traffic for the duration of time it takes for the westbound extension of the N4 to be completed.
Located about midway between Bethlehem and Fouriesburg on the R26 tarred road in the southern Free State, this easy 3 km long pass offers sweeping views of mountains and plains when travelling southwards. It has a mild average gradient of 1:30, but the southern descent offers much steeper gradients of 1:12. The road is safe and suitable for all vehicles.
Located on the tarred R563 between Hekpoort in the north and Krugersdorp in the south, this is easily Gauteng's biggest pass in terms of distance, altitude gained as well as steepest gradient. It's well above the national average in terms of length at 9,2 km and offers some steep climbing near the summit at 1:10. It forms one of the most popular routes over the Witwatersberge into the Magaliesberg area for weekend adventure seekers.
This is a short, easy tarred pass on the R563/R400 road between Krugersdorp and Hartbeespoort with an easy average gradient of 1:40, but the southern side has a short sharp section with gradients of 1:14. The pass is close to the Hartebeeshoek Radio Observatory and the John Nash Nature Reserve. The road is often referred to as 'The Satellite Road' by locals due to the large number of radio satellite dishes along the road.
This is a modest pass that clears an old military outpost known as Kommando Nek. It connects Hekpoort to the west with the village of Hartbeespoort to the east via the R560 / R512. It only rises 56m over 2,4 km producing an easy average gradient of 1:43, with the steeper sections before and after the summit presenting at 1:14. The pass offers lovely views over the Hartbeespoort Dam as well as access to some of the ruins of the old blockhouses dating back to the Anglo-Boer war.
This is a minor pass located 11 km south-east of Bethlehem in the Free State on the N5 route to Harrismith. The pass is short and only gains 50m in altitude with a single S-curve near the summit. The steepest gradients are at 1:14 and this one is suitable for all vehicles, except when it snows, which it does from time to time at these high altitudes on the rim of the Drakensberg escarpment. All along the N5 one can can enjoy fabulous scenery of unusual sandstone outcrops. This is also the Gateway to the Golden Gate National Park.
This is straightforward pass over a low point in the mountains known as Grootnek - about midway between Rosendal and Ficksburg in the Free State. There is only one minor bend in the road and a small altitude gain of 85m producing a very easy average gradient of only 1:73. The steeper sections are on the southern descent which present at 1:14. The only danger on this pass is when snow occurs, when it should be avoided altogether unless you are in a 4WD vehicle equipped with appropriate equipment. The pass offers grand scenery over the mountains of the southern Free State.
A short easy pass gaining only 60m in altitude over 2,7 km producing an average gradient of 1:45, but there are some fairly steep sections just before and after the summit at 1:7. The pass climbs up a side ravine of the Magaliesberg range opposite the mountain called Donkerhoek. The road is labelled as the R104 and is the old main road between Pretoria and Bronkhorstspruit and is located approximately halfway between the two. The pass is relatively safe providing the speed limit of 80 kph is complied with. The road is suitable for all vehicles.
A 5 km long long climb through a nek with fairly easy gradients along the tarred R76 road between Steynsrus and Lindley in the Eastern Free State - Lindley was a significant historical Anglo-Boer war battle site where the British 47th Imperial Yeomanry were routed and captured by the Boer forces. Lindley was once the seat of power of the Free State. It was also the birthplace of South-Africa's most famous rugby player - Dr. Danie Craven.
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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