The Sandberg Pass takes its name from the Sandberg which the road skirts on its southern side. The road is tarred in good condition and is suitable for all vehicles. The pass forms part of a longer tarred road which connects the R43 (Villiersdorp & Worcester) near the Kwaggaskloof Dam with Robertson. This road gently approximates the course of the Breede River along its southern bank and provides a much quieter and more scenic alternative to the truck laden R60 to the north.
This lovely and fairly long poort follows the gorge formed by the Sandfontein river. It is also locally known as 'Tilney Gorge North'. The poort falls within the section of privately owned land of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and is only accessible to paying guests. It's 7 km long and follows the natural gorge carved out by the river, which is one of three rivers which feed into the main dam at Sanbona - the Bellair Dam.
The poort presents gentle average gradients of 1:49 and other than severe corrugations, should present no problems for all types of vehicles, regardless of whether 4x4 or not.
*Please carefully read the notes on public access to Sanbona lower down!
This is a semi-suburban old road demarcated on the government maps as an official pass. It is a straight forward fairly easy descent down a road which is a mix of gravel and tar and heads east towards Great Brak River and ends at a T-junction few kilometers later in the village.
This long gravel pass is located along a narrow valley formed by the east-west mountain chain between Standford and Napier in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. It is also sometimes spelled as Sandies Glen Pass. Both versions are used on signage on the pass. The pass takes its name from the farm of the same name. It consists of a long, slow climb from the western side through a number of farms. The steepest gradients of 1:11 occur near the summit. The pass offers a variety of attractive scenery ranging from open meadows to dense stands of eucapyptus to open mountain-scapes.
It connects the tiny hamlet of Papiesvlei in the west with Napier in the east. The road is suitable for all vehicles and is mostly in a reasonable condition. The usual cautionaries for gravel roads apply and as always, conditions can change rapidly after rain.
This fairly long, but easy gravel pass is located south of the Breede River in the Scherpenheuwel area and provides an unusual connection between the riverside road, which is interrupted by a nose in the mountain, making the continuation of the road alongside the river impractical. It offers an alternative routing to the R60 as it follows the southern side of the Breede River. The pass heads inland towards a mountain called Scheepershoogte, after which the pass takes its name. The pass is also sometimes known as the Gannaberg Pass. The scenery is lovely at any time of year, but it's best in spring time.
Schoemanspoort forms part of the R328 and connects Oudtshoorn with the Cango Caves. It also doubles as the feeder route to the village of Prince Albert via the fabulous Swartberg Pass. This is the lesser of the three major poorts through this mountainous region. The others are Meiringpoort and the Seweweekspoort. The pass was first in use in 1855.
This poort has a bigger altitude variance than most poorts at 220m but due to the long length of just under 20 km the average gradient is an easy 1:88 and never gets steeper than 1:17. This is one of the most underrated scenic roads in South Africa and lives constantly in the shadows of it's more glamorous local attractions - namely the Cango Caves and the Swartberg Pass. The poort offers magnificent Cape Fold Mountain geology as it twists and turns along the banks of the Grobbelaarsrivier.
This lovely gravel road traverses the mountain ridge immediately to the north of Sedgefield in the heart of the Garden Route. The 7,55 km long drive offers a wide variety of scenery including lakes, estuaries, indigenous forests and mountains, plus a birds eye view of Sedgefield itself. The careful observer might spot one of the resident fish eagles soaring the ridges. It is possible to drive the route in a normal car, but some of the sections on the western side can get quite sandy during the summer months. The road becomes fairly busy over weekends, when the paragliding fraternity head for the summit area to launch their colourful paragliders.
This substantial gravel pass can be found in the foothills of the Langeberg about 15 km north west of Heidelberg in the Western Cape. It provides exceptional views and interesting driving on a gravel road that can get very tricky when wet. In addition frequent flooding of the low level bridge at the Seekoeigat farm can be problematic after rain. The 11,3 km long pass has an altitude variance of 387m with some very stiff gradients of up to 1:5. Most of these occur on the first southern ascent. This pass also has the unusual feature of having a major and minor summit within its length.
The Seweweeks Poort is probably the most beautiful 18 km stretch of gravel road anywhere in South Africa. With easy gradients, multiple river crossings, mind-boggling geology, camping and self catering accommodation all packed into an almost perfect micro-climate, this road is an absolute joy to drive or ride, as it twists and turns through every angle of the compass, as it follows the contorted bends of the river and falls entirely under the control of Cape Nature Conservation and more specifically the Swartberg and Towerkop Nature Reserves. It is also a certified Unesco World Heritage Site.
This poort is one of our Top 20 all time favourite roads. Add it to your bucket list!
Shaw's Mountain Pass is named after Shaw's Mountain over which it traverses on the R320 route between Caledon in the north and Hermanus in the south. The 6 km long pass descends 185m from a maximum altitude of 282m ASL providing sweeping views of the farming valleys to the south. It contains 15 bends, corners and curves of which only one exceeds 90 degrees.
The pass offers attractive scenery over one of the most beautiful valleys of the Overberg, where proteas, fynbos and wildflowers abound. The pass was completely realigned and rebuilt during 2017 and is perfectly safe for all vehicle types. Note that a lower than normal speed limit of 80 kph applies.
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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