Coetzees Poort (P363)

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A sizable cutting in the poort A sizable cutting in the poort - Photo: Photo: Trygve Roberts

This little known poort lies just north-east of Calitzdorp and provides a superb, but slower gravel alternative to the R62. It connects Calitzdorp with the farming communities that lie to the north of the R62 and south of the Swartberg Mountains. The poort offers beautiful and dramatic scenery of the unusual red sandstone mountains.

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Digging into the details:

Getting there: From Calitzdorp head east on the R62. There are two approaches from the west, with the most scenic one being the approach closer to Calitzdorp at GPS S33.544435 E21.824460. If you’re approaching from the east (Oudtshoorn), there is a shorter way of getting to the poort. Turn off the R62 to the north at GPS S33.557565 E21.895845

We started filming the poort from the intersection of the two roads mentioned above, which is where the poort proper starts. The most striking feature of Coetzeespoort is the red mountains in the area. The scenery is exceptional and this poort is a photographers dream with richly contrasting colours and excellent light.

The approach to the start is via Buffelskloof. To the left are several trails traversing the red mountains. At the start the Red Mountain Nature Reserve entrance gates are on the left just after a few small buildings. There are several B&B and self catering establishments in this beautiful part of the Little Karoo.
Red Mountain Nature Reserve entrance gatesAbove: The entrance gates at the start of the poort to the Red Mountain Nature Reserve / Photo: Tillie Coetzee

The poort has a typical easy gradient of 1:67 and only gains 155m in altitude over 10,4 km. After the first S curve has been negotiated, the main buildings of the Buffelskloof farmstead appear on the right, whilst the farm on the left is Kalmoeskloof. The heading is approximately into the north-east for the next 10 km through a variety of typical Klein Karoo type riverine scenery.

After 1,7 km the road enters a sizeable kloof, which marks the southern entry point into the main part of Coetzeespoort. Towards the end of this first kloof, the valley opens up and the road sweeps through a wide turn into the east. This section has views of irrigated farmlands and after 1km the road changes heading back into the north at the point where the farm ‘Limerick’ is seen.

From Limerick to Kruisrivier farm is 3 km as the road goes through a wide S bend. The Kruisrivier farm is big and covers almost 10 km from south to north. The heading through the Kruisrivier area is into the NNW and the Kriga Dam can be seen on the right hand side of the road.
Sublime scenery in the and around the poortAbove: This photo by Mr. HJ van Zyl shows the natural beauty of the area

The poort is a sequence of surprises with each kloof being followed by open plains and fertile valleys. Towards the end of the poort the final kloof is reached where the mountain on the left (Wolwekop – 653m) is skirted in a wide 90 degree left hand bend. Another big farm dam, “Limerick Dam’ can be seen on the right.

The route ends at a small settlement – also called Kruisrivier where an assortment of arts and crafts entrepeneurs have established a little centre to be creative and sell their products to passing tourists. If you have the time, we recommend spending a while browsing through the studios.

The hamlet has tall trees with lots of shade, colourful bougainvilleas and attractive old buildings. This is also the junction, where a right hand turn will take you past Kliptuin se Kop [677m] and on to the Cango caves (eventually); or a left turn will take you through an equally beautiful drive (gravel) through Groenfontein, back to Calitzdorp.

The Coetzeespoort is not quite up to the awe inspiring grandeur of Seweweeks or Meirings Poort, but it has a lovely charm all of its own and presents a relaxing and enjoyable sojourn through some of the best back roads of the Klein Karoo offering tranquillity and lots of surprises.
Coetzeespoort10TSRAbove: Stop to browse these art galleries at the end of the pass at Kruisrivier / Photo: Trygve Roberts

Fact File:

GPS START  S33.513196 E21.870162
GPS SUMMIT S33.444553 E21.886221
GPS END  S33.441586 E21.883911
DISTANCE 10,4 km
TIME REQUIRED 20 minutes
SPEED LIMIT 40 - 60 kph
SURFACE Gravel (P363)
DATE FILMED 27.01.2015
NEAREST TOWN Calitzdorp (22km)

Route Map:

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Route files:

||Click to download: Coetzees Poort (Note - this is a .gdb file which can be opened in most GPS devices)

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