When travelling from Sutherland to Ceres via the Tankwa Karoo, this is the first of three small passes that have to be negotiated, with the other two being Thyshoogte and Jukhoogte. The pass is moderate in all respects with an altitude variance of 172m over 3,7 km producing an average gradient of 1:22, with the steepest sections being on the eastern side near the summit where things ramp up to 1:8.
Despite the moderate statistics, there are a few dangers on this pass. There is one sharp right hand bend leading into the ravine section which has some negative cross-flow and there are also some unguarded drop-offs on the left, which would cause serious damage if your vehicle left the road. During the week you are unlikely to come across any other vehicles on this road, but over weekends it could be a little busier, when dust and overtaking suddenly become major issues. It's best not to be in a hurry on this road and take the time to stop frequently and savour the timeless beauty of the Tankwa Karoo.
Kiewiet Se Hoogte is a minor gravel road pass located near Loxton in the Northern Cape. “Kiewiet” is the Afrikaans name for a species of bird, originally called a plover in English, but more recently referred to as a lapwing. It is most likely that the subspecies which gave its moniker to the pass is the Blacksmith Lapwing, whose vernacular name is derived from its repeated metallic “tink, tink, tink” alarm call, reminiscent of the sound a blacksmith’s hammer makes as it strikes an anvil.
Droevoetspoort is a minor poort about 10 km west of Fraserburg on the gravel R356. The poort offers a smattering of greenery as it follows the course of the river for 2.2 km descending a scant 16 metres in altitude. The average gradient pans out at a negligible 1:140. There is a solitary farm nestled in a shady part of the poort close to a copse of bluegum trees. No matter how insignificant it appears in the greater scheme of things, it will seem like an oasis after the flat, dry scenery in every direction.
Thyshoogte is named after the Thyskraal farm, through which it passes. This pass precedes Jukhoogte to it's south-west in fairly quick succession on the gravel R356 route between Sutherland and Ceres.. Like Jukhoogte, this pass similarly has a few nasty surprises with negative banking, and some sharp dips and corners. There is one hairpin bend which also hosts the steepest gradient. This pass gets extremely slippery after rain or snow and it has no safety rail on the drop side, where the drops offs are very steep. Drive slowly and with caution.
The pass is 4,5 km long and has an altitude variance of 152m which converts into an average gradient of 1:30, but the steepest section near the summit gets as steep as 1:6
Most travellers are not even aware of this pass, as they travel the long and generally flat gravelled R356 across the flat plains of the Ceres and Tankwa Karoo between Sutherland and Ceres. This is the last meaningful change in terrain since having passed through the Windheuvel and Thyshoogte passes, several kilometres further to the north-east.
This tricky little pass, whilst not boasting any extreme statistics, has been the undoing of many an unsuspecting driver, as things can get decidedly slippery when the rains do eventually arrive. There are a number of very sharp bends and dips, some of which have negative banking and loose gravel. Proceed with caution and don't underestimate this pass!
The pass is 3,4 km long and exhibits an altitude variance of 103m which converts into an average gradient of 1:32 with the steeper parts getting into the 1:9 range.
The Verlatenkloof Pass (translates into 'Desolate Pass') is a substantial altitude gaining tarred pass on the R354/R356 some 30 km south of Sutherland in the Northern Cape. It winds its way laboriously down the Roggeveld Mountains via the Verlatenkloof. It is often still referred to in the original Dutch format of Verlatenkloof Pass, but mostly the "n" has been dropped in favour of the local Afrikaans version - 'Verlatekloof''. Either version will get you to the same pass! You will descend 668 meters in altitude over 14,4 km producing an average gradient of 1:22, with the steeper parts at 1:8. This statistic makes it the 26th longest pass in South Africa as well as 10th biggest altitude gaining pass.
The pass has one or two exceptionally dangerous corners and drivers need to concentrate the whole way down and comply with the speed limits and warning signs. The pass offers wonderful Karoo views, some clever engineering, a guest farm and the geology has been laid bare through the multiple cuttings.
This fairly minor poort is located approximately 30 km north-east of Sutherland and 75 km south-west of Fraserburg in the Northern Cape. In other words, more or less in the middle of nowhere! The 6 km long poort is gravel and is designated as the R356. It is generally maintained to a good standard and summits at 1487m ASL.
This smallish pass of 2.8 km in length lies a few kilometers south of Sutherland in the Northern Cape on the tarred R356 route. It is named after the only farm in the kloof, which is located on the left hand side (east) of the road towards the northern end of the kloof next to a small stream. This is not a major pass, but it has a fair altitude gain and few gentle turns to compliment the scenery in the kloof. It's a fairly safe road with a good track record. If it is snowing, the usual cautionaries for snow driving apply.
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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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