The Witnekke Pass is a tarred pass located on the R323 route between Laingsburg in the north-west and Ladismith in the south-east. It forms one of four passes and poorts along the R323, making for a particularly pleasant drive. The others are the Seweweekspoort, Koueveld Pass and Rooinek Pass.
This is a fairly easy gravel traverse through the Witberge in the Karoo via a kloof, offering great Karoo scenery of plains and mountains. It's a road that needs to be driven slowly and offers a 50+ km gravel alternative to the congested and truck laden N1 highway. You can enjoy this pass, as well as the Varsbokkloof and Rooinek passes before arriving back in Laingsburg. The pass is 7,5 km long and has an easy average gradient of just 1:136.
The high altitude, fertile Witzenberg Valley lies hidden in a fold of the Skurweberg mountains, about 20 km north of Ceres. The Witzenberg Pass is the tarred accesss road that starts at the summit of the Gydo Pass and ends at the southern head of this long and attractive valley. The road is well engineered and in good condition. It passes through a neck in the mountains amongst weathered sandstone formations, revealing the starkly contrasting green orchards of the valley. Not many people drive this pass as it is a dead-end, but take 10 minutes and experience this lovely mountain pass in the heart of the Koue Bokkeveld.
This short drive is no longer open to the general public (as at 2020) and leads to the large Wolwedans Dam, built by the Dept. of Water Affairs as recently as 1990 in the mountains north of the seaside village of Great Brak. The road is a mix of tar (potholed) and concrete and also services a few farms in the area. The last 2 km which traverses the control area of the dam is in excellent condition and despite two very sharp hairpins and fairly steep gradients is a lovely, scenic drive and safe if you comply with the speed limits.
It is possible to gain access to the road, by requesting permission from the dam manager. This would be best done in advance. Don't be disappointed if you are refused entry.
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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