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Naauwkloof Pass (R62)

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Naaukloof looking south Naaukloof looking south - Photo: MPSA

The Naauwkloof Pass on the R62 close to Ladismith  is much more of a poort than a true mountain pass. The 8,3 km long poort offers attractive scenery with 12 gentle bends and easy gradients to make this an enjoyable break along the R62, itself touted as the longest wine route in the world.

Towards the northern end of the poort, the Naauwkloof farm entrance can be seen on the right-hand side when travelling south. There's a valley about a quarter of the way through the poort, followed by an ascent to a false summit (516m) at the 4.5 km mark. From this midway summit the road descends continuously till the end of the poort marked by the crossing of the Stassensleegte River.

 

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[Video cover photo: MPSA]

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Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.


Digging into the details:

Getting there: To approach from the north (as we have produced it), head out of Ladismith on the R62 towards Barrydale. The start of the Naauwkloof Pass is 2.2 km from the centre of town.

To approach from the south, head east along the R62 from Barrydale to arrive at the southern end of the poort after 67 km.

Description: Starting in the north, the road enters the Naauwkloof via a series of bends as the course of the river is mimicked. This first 3 km of the kloof is the most interesting with exposed rock faces and tight corners. It's best to drop your speed down to 60 kph to fully appreciate your surroundings. For those travelling in the opposite direction, there are good views of the famous Towerkop peak dead ahead. Legend has it that a witch became so angry with the mountain that she struck it with her wand, and split the mountain with a cleft that is unique.

From the 3 km mark, the road exits the narrows of the kloof and changes direction into the west, following a valley between two ridges. This is also the steepest part of the route as the road reaches an altitude of 516m ASL at the 4.5 km mark, where a sharp blind rise is crested.

From this point the long descent to the end of the poort commences, as the road gently bends back into the south. The final bend is reached at the 6.4 km mark, where a sweeping vista presents itself in the form of a wide, uninterrupted plain. It has the uncompromising name of Stassensleegte. (Stassen's Emptiness). 

The final part of the descent is a long, arrow-straight descent of 2 km where the pass ends at the bridge close to the intersection of the R62 and the R327. Continue for a further 67 km to reach Barrydale.

Cautionaries: The R62 has no paved safety shoulders throughout this section, making overtaking difficult at times - especially of slow moving trucks. The road surface is a bit uneven, so keep an eye on your speed.

Ladismith: 

This lovely old church today serves as a tourist information centre.

Ladismith is situated in the Eden region of the Western Cape, South Africa. The Klein Swartberg mountain range towers above the town, with six peaks to climb, the biggest challenge being Towerkop with its split peak. The best way to experience the surroundings is being outside in the unpolluted air of the Klein Karoo, with blue skies, mountains and at night only the twinkling stars above you keep vigil over the silence around you.

Towerkop is just one of the nearby peaks that make this area a nature lover and hiker’s delight. You can grace the split peak in a day, if you’re fit, or you can attempt the Elandsberg hiking trail, a 12km route to Stanley’s light, which brings us to the final delightful myth of Ladismith.  The area is in the very core of one of the ecological “hot –spots” in South Africa, being home to an extremely rich and unique biodiversity.

Vegetation ranges from Fynbos in the mountains to broken veld, spekboom and succulent Karoo on the koppies and plains. Mountain bike and 4x4 trails take you up hills and mountains, through riverbeds, valleys and the magnificent Seweweekspoort which runs through the mountain range with its winding road and spectacular rock formations, with Seweweekspoort peak the highest (2 325 m) in the Western Cape.

Several buildings have been declared National Monuments. Fruit (fresh and dried), cheese and wines and well-known products of the town and district. Recreation includes bird watching, horse riding, 4x4 routes, golf, bowls, badminton, squash, rugby and cricket.


Fact File:

GPS START

S33.512663 E21.256889

GPS SUMMIT

S33.512663 E21.256889

GPS END

S33.566516  E21.223430

AVE GRADIENT

1:57

MAX GRADIENT

1:16

ELEVATION START

527m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

527m

ELEVATION END

381m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

146m

DISTANCE

8.3 km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

South

TIME REQUIRED

6 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

100 kph

SURFACE

Tar (R62)

DATE FILMED

23.06.2021

TEMPERATURE

15C

NEAREST TOWN

Ladismith (2 km)


Route Map:

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From Address:


Route files:

||Click to download: Naauwkloof  Pass (R62) - (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

 

More in this category: « Rooiblomhoogte (MR00341)

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