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The Western Cape

The Remhoogte Pass (Brake Heights Pass) is one of three back to back passes on the R60 between Swellendam and Ashton. The other two are the Bakoondhoogte and Leeuriviershoogte Passes. This is the biggest of the three in terms of altitude gained  and when summiting from the eastern approach, it provides exceptional views over the valley around Ashton with the vista of a semi circle of mountains to the right and ahead.

 

 

 

Rhodes Drive is a 7 km mountain drive along the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain range and connects Constantia Nek in the south with the suburb of Newlands. This is one of the most scenic wooded drives on the Cape Peninsula and traverses some of the plush suburbs of the Southern Peninsula. It is also the only access road to the world famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. From dense indigenous forests, to towering old pine trees, majestic mountains, hiking trails, picnic spots and world class botanical gardens - it's all there along the wonderful Rhodes Drive.  



The Robinson Pass on the R328 route, is a modern classic of the Southern Cape with beautiful sweeping curves and superb views around every corner. It's administrative number is TR 33-2.  It connects the coastal port of Mossel Bay with Oudtshoorn. The pass has been rebuilt several times over the past 140 years and offers not only fabulous scenery, but many pages of history around every bend. The pass is subject to heavy rain and frequent mountain mists, which reduces visibility and makes the pass dangerous. It has claimed many lives over the years including a bus full of international tourists. A memorial stone in their memory stands on the left hand side of the road about halfway up the pass.



A short and very steep gravel pass that connects the tiny settlement of Rondevlei on the shores of the Bo-Langvlei in the Garden Route's Lake District with the upper coastal plateau dairy farming region and the 7 Passes Road near Bergplaas and Beervlei forestry sectors. The pass is almost always corrugated and suffers damage quickly from heavy rain due its steep gradient. It provides attractive views of the lakes in the Garden Route National Park.

This old and little known route formed the most northerly access through the Winterhoek Mountains from Piketberg into the Tulbagh valley (also known as the Roodezand valley). This road is still clearly visible using aerial photography, but it is no longer publicly accessible and falls entirely on private farm land. We are listing it purely to index the four passes into the Roodezand valley and clarify the general confusion that the naming of the passes has caused over the years.

The Rooiberg Pass was built in 1928 most probably under the supervision of the Divisional Council of Oudtshoorn. It joins the tiny village of Van Wyksdorp with Calitzdorp over the Rooiberg Mountain. This is not a pass to be trifled with and although it can be driven in a normal car, a high clearance vehicle would be better. It is also a long pass at 14 km and contains some fairly rough sections. There are a total of 69 bends, corners and curves which include 6 hairpins and many other bends with a turning radius in excess of 90 degrees. It's a road for the less hurried traveller and offers wonderful views on both the northern and southern sides with valleys and ridges bedecked in fynbos and in winter you'll be treated to the sight of the bright orange flowers of hundreds of thousands of flowering aloes.

The pass has an altitude variance of 509m over a distance of 14 km producing an average gradient of 1:27 with the steepest parts measuring in at 1:7. All these considered, it is one you simply have to drive at least once in your life.

Rooihoogte is located on the R43 about midway between Villiersdorp and Worcester. It is not a major pass and other than the hairpin, is a relatively safe pass. The road has an altitude drop/gain of 198m over 9,28km producing an easy average gradient of 1:46, with the steep parts being at 1:8. This pass traverses prime agricultural land with lovely views of mountains, lakes, vineyards and orchards.

 

Over a distance of 7.6 km, the tarred Rooihoogte Pass displays 370m of altitude variance, with a comfortable average gradient of 1/20. Literally a stone's throw along the same road is Burgers Pass, formerly known as Koo Pass. Both of these passes were first designed by master road engineer, Thomas Bain in 1877.

The Rooihoogte Pass was originally known as Thomson's Pass and together with the Koo pass, both received name changes in the 1940's. This is reputed to be the pass with the highest summit altitude in the Western Cape. The pass is more enjoyable driving it in the descending mode with huge views over the rugged Langeberg mountains.

If you blink, you will pass through this little poort without noticing it. It's an official poort duly noted on the government 1:50,000 maps. The vital statistics are frivolous with the poort only being 1.1 km in length with an altitude variance of only 8m. The scenery is however, quite pleasant as the road follows the poort between two large hills - both comprising sandstone formations typical of the area.

The region offers wonderful tourism opportunities for the adventure traveller with the town of De Rust being the springboard and focal point of the area. The town is something of an artist's and writer's haven as many of the old buildings have been beautifully restored, as city folk have moved here to live a quieter lifestyle. The region also makes excellent port wine and it is of course also the southern gateway to the world renowned Meiringspoort.

 

The Rooinek Pass is located approximately 17 km due South of Laingsburg in the Western Cape. The pass is fairly short at 3,15 km. and only gains/loses 73 meters of altitude, giving rise to an average gradient of 1:43. It is statistically a safe pass and has it's steepest gradient at 1:9. 

 

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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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