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The Western Cape

This basic 8,5 km route over the Koringberg connects a string of telecom towers along the summit ridge with farms to the north and south and varies from fairly mild to quite complex. The route can be done in a circular format starting and ending at the farm Hoogele√ęwith its campsite known as Die Ark - or it can be driven as an out and back route returning back from the summit the same way you ascended. Driving it as an out and back route will peg it at Grade 1 to 2. Driving down the southern side will escalate it to Grade 3 (and higher if the weather is wet)

You will need a high clearance 4x4 to complete the entire route, but it is doable in a high clearance 4x2 'bakkie' in fair weather by turning around at the summit and retracing your route. The descent down the southern side of the mountain is extreme in places, depending on recent rainfall and this more difficult section is probably best tackled by more experienced drivers. The route traverses two privately owned farms, so permission is required to drive the route.

The Kouberg Pass (translated 'Chew Mountain' or possibly an abbreviation to mean 'Cold Mountain') is a short, but steep pass on a minor gravel road which takes vehicles down to the Moravian settlement of Wupperthal in the central Cederberg area. The road is quite narrow in places and very steep on the concrete sections. A lower gear should be engaged to make use of engine compression to save on brakes overheating.

 

This well maintained gravel road pass lies on the northern side of the Swartberg Mountains close to the Seweweeks Poort. It connects the Seweweeks Poort area and farms eastwards and up to the Gamkapoort Dam with Laingsburg. The 6 km long pass is subject to winter snowfalls with a summit altitude of 1202m ASL and an altitude variance of 341m, producing an average gradient of 1:18, with the steepest parts being at 1:8. Two waterfalls on the Swartberg side of the pass makes this a great detour off the busier R62 route.



A steep and winding gravel pass over the Kraaiberg mountain which forms the southern barrier to the Biedouw Valley. The road connects the Biedouw Valley with the higher altitude farms to the south and east. Some of the gradients are steep and there are three hairpin bends to contend with. We would not recommend driving this pass in a normal car, but a high clearance 'bakkie' will manage, except in very wet weather. There are long sections on this pass which are very stony, which will present problems for low clearance cars.

This pass also marks the western end or start of the Old Postal Route, which is covered fully as a separate entry on this website. Anyone wanting to drive the Old Postal Route should take the hyperlink to get all the information necessary to safely complete the route.

Its claim to fame is that it is the final pass after the Nardouwskloof Pass that delivers motorists to the Cederberg's beautitul Bushmans Cave Amphitheatre. It's named after a nearby peak Kraaibosberg (Crow Bush Mountain) [633,7m] which can be seen to your right at the start of the pass. At 3,6 km this pass is fairly short and it descends a substantial 250m producing an average gradient of 1:14 which places it fairly high up on the national rankings in terms of steepness.

This 7,8 km attractive gravel pass has a substantial altitude drop of 494m as it descends from the Elandsfontein farm through the Kransvleikloof following the course of a small river amongst high crags through a cool and shady kloof. It terminates at a T-junction with the N7 highway. There is some confusion about the name of the kloof with some references calling it the Jakkalsvleikloof. The official government maps show the higher section of the kloof to be Kransvleikloof, followed by the lower section, which is named Jakkalsvleikloof. Then to add fuel to the fire, the next section after the gravel road joins the N7, is again called Kransvleikloof. The last farm along the descent on the right hand side of the road is also called Kransvleikloof. So, for the puposes of this website and having to give this pass an indexed name, we are going with Kransvleikloof.

The Kredouw Pass lies along the beautiful Prince Albert Valley, on the R407 between the town of Prince Albert and the farming hamlet of Klaarstroom, within the northern sector of the awe inspiring Swartberg mountain range. The pass was originally named the Kareedouwberg Pass and this name still appears on the official government maps, but the practical language of Afrikaans sensibly shortened it to Kredouw over time. This also helps in not confusing this pass with the Kareedouw Pass just south of the town of Kareedouw, much further east on the R62.


 

The Kromrivier Pass is a short, steep pass incorporating 15 bends, corners and curves - two of which are in excess of 100 degrees. The pass connects the Cederberg Tourist Park or more originally, the Kromrivier farm with the main gravel road between Clanwilliam and Ceres in the Southern Cederberg. It also forms part of an escape route via the Truitjieskraal Road, when the main road via Matjiesrivier is in flood

The road is single width for some of its length, which makes overtaking impossible and oncoming traffic a problem. Should this happen, one of the vehicles will need to reverse back to a wider, safer place to allow the other vehicle to pass. Etiquette is that the ascending vehicle has right of way, but this is sometimes neither practical or safe. Use common sense and be courteous. The road can get quite busy on long weekends, but is otherwise very quiet.

Kruippoort, which translates as 'Crawling Passage' probably relates to the slow speed of the original road. It's an easy tarred drive traversing the R62 to the south-west of Ladismith in the Western Cape and forms part of the R62 route. The road is wide and safe and only has two gentle bends, but once inside the poort the poort hems the road in amd provides a scenic, albeit short drive.

Most drivers are not even aware that this is an official poort, so if it's best to premark the coordinates into your GPS before setting off on your journey.

The poort has very gentle average gradients of 1:267 and follows a typical poort profile. There are one or two short sections which get as steep as 1:8, but they don't last long. The biggest danger in this poort is that many motorists ignore the barrier lines when they become impatient with a slower vehicle ahead. Other than that, the engineering work in the poort is good and the road displays no design flaws.

The P1706 route offers far superior scenery to the well known R62 tourist route - especially the straight and often boring section between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn. This back road offers multiple options and several small passes, each distinctly different to the other. The Kruisrivierpoort is the first of these passes when driving from west to east.

The pass is quite short at 2.2 km and only has an altitude variance of 134m, but what it lacks in vital statistics, it more than makes up for in attractive scenery and lots of tight corners. The average gradient is 1:16 but several sections get as steep as 1:6. The settlement at Kruisrivier after the eastern side of the poort, plays host to a number of artists and crafters and is a recommended stopping point.

Cautionaries: Be aware that this road is very narrow in places (single width) and it might be necessary to reverse back to a wider spot to allow safe passing. The rule of the road is to give way to ascending vehicles.

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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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