The Western Cape

This unusual gravel pass is located on the coastal plateau between Albertinia and the coastal road connecting Gouritzmond and Stilbaai. The pass has a classic inverted profile (High-Low-High) and traverses a riverless valley called Canca se Leegte. It has some very sharp and awkward (incorrectly banked) corners which can be lethal if your speed is too high.

At 2,6 km it's a short pass (well below the national average) but it packs plenty of variety into that distance. Some of the gradients are steep at 1:7 and the pass zig-zags its way past two prominent rocky outcrops called Eilandskop, after which the pass is named. The pass is best driven in a high clearance vehicle or very carefully in a normal car.

The Elands Pass is the final descent down into the long, low altitude valley called Gamkaskloof, but more commonly known as "Die Hel". This page is repeated in its entirety on the main Gamkaskloof page. If you intend driving this pass, we recommend rather switching to the main Gamkaskloof entry which covers all ten sections, including the Elands Pass. The videos on this page are more detailed than the videos on the gamkaskloof page, so if your interest is is the Elands Pass perse, then remain on this page.

This pass descends a total of 477m over a distance of 4,7 km producing a very stiff average gradeint of just under 1:10. You will have to deal with five very tight hairpin bends, and 49 other bends, corners and curves of varying degrees, but it is the very steep, unguarded drop-offs that tend be unnerving for many drivers and passengers. The design of the pass is actually very good and there is no point where the gradient exceeds 1:7.

This pass, although fairly short ranks right up with the biggest and best passes in South Africa, attracting in excess of 10,000 page views each year. This is a bucket list pass and one that every adventurous traveller should do.

The Elandskloof Pass is a comfortable tarred pass, designated route R303 and is the sequel to the much more dramatic Middelberg Pass when travelling from south to north between the Koue Bokkeveld and Citrusdal. A substantial plateau lies between these two passes and the farm Elandskloof lies at the southern end of the pass and is where the pass took its name from. Despite the easy gradients and shallow corners, it is a very old pass dating back to the 18th Century. It should be noted that there are 3 passes with this name in the Western Cape - the other two being near Villiersdorp and Gamkaskloof respectively.

This fabulous out and back pass starts just north of Villiersdorp and connects the fertile Elandskloof farming valley with the town. The pass is short and very steep in places (at 1:4) and small engined cars might struggle up some of the inclines. Fortunately the pass is tarred, so there is no slipping and sliding. It is perhaps best remembered by older Capetonians as an excellent day trip for the whole family to "High Noon", which offered an array of activities as well as tame and wild animals.

The Elgin Valley Road is known to the locals simply as "Valley Road". It is a 12 km U-shaped loop that traverses some steep valleys, the sides of which are covered in apple orchards, vineyards or pine forests. This 300m high mountain plateau is perfect for the production of both apples and wines suited to a cooler climate. The valley is dotted with dams and lakes both large and small and has become the epicentre of the Grabouw region's eco-tourism efforts. Young couples flock here to the farms to get married in pristine countryside settings, whilst the mountain biking fraternity are attracted by the miles of quality single track and testing mountainous terrain. 

The Eselbank Pass, a section of which also appears on some maps as the Kerskop Pass, connects the Moravian mission village of Wupperthal with its sister village of Eselbank to the south in a high altitude part of the Cederberg. The pass is 10,5 km long and is very steep in places, but these sections have been concreted which assists greatly with traction. It has an average gradient of 1:21 but the steep sections get up to 1:5.

You can enjoy fabulous mountain scenery along this pass and along the summit plateau area there are beautiful, weathered sandstone formations and Rooibos tea plantations. Allow plenty of time to complete the  route through to Matjiesrivier - at least 90 to 120 minutes.

Note: This route is not recommended for normal cars. Things can get a bit rough on this road. It's more of a track at times and especially so in bad weather. Having said that, I have seen some puny little front wheel drive cars successfully negotiating the entire route, but your car will be the worse for wear at the end. We have included four videos, which include an overview of the village as well as the waterfall.

This gravel farm road traverses a small gap in the mountains known as Eseljagpoort (Donkey Hunt Ravine). It crosses the farm of the same name and runs along the NW/SE axis and connects the Langlkoof from the tarred N9 with Heimersrivier, Oudtshoorn and Dysselsdorp in the Little Karoo. It provides an interesting alternative to the main tarred roads. Whilst this poort is minor in every respect, it does provide a feeling of distinct isolation and unusual tranquility.

The Floorshoogte Pass is 16 km long tarred pass on the R43 between Villiersdorp and Caledon. It climbs/descends 257 meters to summit at 525m ASL producing a comfortable average gradient of 1:62, which is mainly due to an undulating middle section. The initial climb up from the Theewaterskloof Dam to the summit is a long, continuous climb with a gradient of 1:8 

 

 

This easy gravel pass of 5 km descends towards the N7 at Trawal on the western side of a long ridge like mountain known as Fonteintjiesberg with a substantial altitude gain/loss of 323m, offering lovely views over the Tierpoort with the Gifberg Mountain in the far distance. This is a quiet farm road with low traffic volumes. The road is suitable for most vehicles, but it can get quite sandy during the long, hot summer months, which will affect traction. This road provides a wonderful alternative to the N7 for the less hurried traveller who enjoys gravel road driving.

Franschhoek Pass is also called Lambrechts Road, though - more poetically - a hundred and fifty years ago it was known as Olifantshoek ("Elephants Corner') after the now mythical herds of elephant which once roamed these valleys and mountains. This long, steep and dramatic pass with its variety of scenery was South Africa's first properly engineered road. During weekends city folk stream to the pass on bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards, cars and SUV's to enjoy it's sheer magnificence.

 

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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.
 

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.

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