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The Western Cape

The 4.7 km, gravel Uitkyk Pass marries the northern and southern Cederberg Wilderness areas. Of medium length and fairly steep, this pass is true to its name, which translates as 'Look Out', providing endless vistas of the unique Cederberg mountains, with the Algeria Valley beckoning down below with it's beautiful grassed campsites and refreshing rock pools. The pass is sometimes listed as the Cederberg Pass and the old pass (which runs up the eastern side of the ravine) which it replaced, is listed as the "Old Uitkyk Pass". To add to the confusion, the sign board at the foot of the pass reads UITKYK PASS. Take your pick! There is another Uitkyk Pass in Mpumalanga, so 'Cederberg Pass' would have been a wiser choice. Some maps also show the Nieuwoudts Pass as the Cederberg Pass.  There is another pass on the Wupperthal Road further to the north-east also called Uitkyk Pass on older maps, which has had a sensible name change to Hoek-se-berg Pass.

This is a serious off-road pass that involves a bridgeless river crossing, long sections of stepped rock inclines, sharp corners, razor sharp tyre slicing rocks, loose stones, steep gradients and immense views over the Doring River valley. It is only possible in a high clearance 4x4 with low range or for motorcycle riders, a lightweight bike will also do the trick. This road is not recommended for inexperienced drivers/riders. The pass straddles the border of the Western and Northern Cape and forms part of the R2266 gravel road that connects the Biedouw Valley with the R355 south of Calvinia.

Uniondale Heights is a 4,62 km long tarred pass on the N9 route between Uniondale and Willowmore. It is located just outside Uniondale and descends from the Karoo plateau of around 820 meters ASL down the mountain to the north of the town via a well designed, modern pass with easy gradients, good cambers and gentle curves. The pass terminates right opposite the centre of Uniondale at the crossing of the Kammanassie River.

 

The Uniondale Poort was completely rebuilt over a lengthy period after being seriously damaged by floods about a decade ago. Today one can enjoy this lovely scenic drive through the poort on a beautifully engineered, modern road taking in the stunning rock formations and some small waterfalls if you are lucky enough to drive it after or during good rains. The road was first built through the poort in 1925 and it was tarred in 1960. It carries a secondary name of 'Queen Street'. The major, modern reconstruction took place between 2007 and 2010 during which phase traffic was routed to Uniondale via the Potjiesberg Pass on the N9.

The Van Der Stel Pass is a fairly easy, but long, gravel road pass between Bot River and the Theewaterskloof Dam in the Overberg region. It mainly serves the farming community. The road is generally well maintained and is suitable for all vehicles. This is a fairly long pass at 17 km, but the gradients are very easy at a mere 1:145 with the steepest section near the summit at 1:6

 



This is a lovely gravel pass on the little travelled back road that parallels the southern side of the N1 between Laingsburg and Touws River. It gives access to the Witteberg area and includes the beautiful Witteberg Private Nature Reserve as well as a number of farms that operate along this remote Karoo valley. The pass has an unusual profile in that it has a long plateau in the middle with steep ascents and descents on either end.

This superb pass is rich in South African folklore and we are fortunate to bring you the story of John Versfeld - a resourceful farmer from Bo-Piketberg who built the original pass in 3 months with only 16 farm labourers. There are two Versfeld passes in close proximity to each other. The original one lies slightly to the north-east of the current one and its path can still be seen, but it is no longer publicly accessible. Our focus is on the existing pass. The gradients of the new pass are up to good engineering standards and the road descends the mountain through a series of dizzying switchbacks. Not many people know about the pass. It's narrow and very twisty, but although it was built in 1943 and widened and tarred in 1958, it offers a bountiful of delights as it ascends or descends the mountain to Piketberg.

This very minor road rises only 49m to clear a wide neck amongst the vast plains of Namaqualand about 25 km north-east of Nuwerus (on the N7) as the crow flies. It is one of the most northerly official passes in the Western Cape. The word 'poort' is normally associated with a road following the path carved out by a river, so Vetpoort is inappropriately named and should rather have been called Vetnek. Only die-hard pass-chasers will hunt this one down. It's difficult to find (especially from the south-eastern side) and has many farm gates to open and close in the process of getting there. For those that do take the trouble to drive this 'pass' you will be rewarded with a remarkable sense of peace and solitude as it is truly in the middle of nowhere.

This short and steep tarred pass connects George with the uber-cool surfing beach of Victoria Bay. The road has some dangerous bends and steep gradients and there are often pedestrians and cyclists on this road. To add to these issues, there are no safety shoulders either. The steepest gradients are 1:8 and the road ends in a dead-end.

Victoria Road is a long road that stretches from Sea point all the way to Hout Bay. This lovely coastal road is featured several times on this website as it includes at least two passes in its total distance. This specific pass starts at the western end of Camps Bay at Bakoven and ends about 8,5 km later at the natural neck between the last buttress of the Twelve Apostles and Little Lions Head above Llandudno. It is a road which is appreciated and revered by locals and tourists alike and is well engineered with properly banked turns and smooth curves. It is a joy to drive, ride or cycle whilst offering fabulous views of the Atlantic coastline and the 12 Apostles.

 

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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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