Rusty Gate Pass

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Summit views Summit views - Photo: Trygve Roberts

This 14,5 km long unofficial gravel pass crosses five farms as well as forestry zones and connects the Helderstroom valley in the east with the R43 close to the western side of the Theewaterskloof Dam. The pass is named after a farm near the summit of the same name, but it's also known by a variety of alternative names which include Onbekendepas (Unknown Pass), Elandskloof Pass (there is another Elandskloof Pass just to the north-west of Villersdorp), Theewaters Pass and Helderstroom Pass.

The pass contains 79 bends, corners and curves of which four exceed 90 degrees, but there are no hairpins. In addition there are some very steep gradients of 1:5. The road is generally wide enough for two big vehicles to pass, but the surface can be rough and stony, depending on recent weather. There are also some sections where it degenerates into nothing more than a basic two spoor track, so there's lots of variety on this route.

We recommend driving this route from east to west for a number of reasons, which include your general safety, convenience, prevention of getting lost and maximising on the scenery. Although this pass could be driven in a high clearance 'bakkie' in fair weather, we recommend a 4WD vehicle. It is not suitable for normal cars.

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Additional Info

  • Height Gain/Loss (m): 527
  • Distance (km): 14.5
  • Time required (min): 30
  • Speed limit maximum (kph): 40
  • Surface: Gravel

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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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