Naroegaspoort is a gentle drive with easy gradients synonymous with typical poort statistics. It includes two crossings of the Plessisrivier, which is usually a bone dry river bed. These crossings mark the start and end points of the poort. There are only two wide corners and the rest of the poort is a straight-line drive through the rugged poort, which forms a passage through the east-west axis Grootrivierberge about 50 km east of Willowmore in the Karoo. The poort squeezes the road and the railway line into its confines and both parallel each other for most of the distance through the poort. This is an arid, water-scarce part of South Africa, where much of the vegetation consists of succulents.
This is a short, but very scenic gravel road that follows the poort of a small river. The exposed and almost vertical rocks on the southern side of the kloof are dramatic and some of the rock formations are well worth exploring. The road crosses the (usually dry) riverbed four times in rapid succession. The pass is just under 2 km in length and only has one steep section near the eastern end, where the gradients are at 1:6.
Volstruisnek is a relatively minor pass located on the R323/P315 road south of Laingsburg in the Karoo and forms part of a series of passes and poorts on this fabulous Karoo back road, which is peppered with game sightings and exquisite mountain scenery. This is the smallest of the five passes and has no apparent dangers, providing speed limits are adhered to. The road is suitable for all vehicles.
The Prinsrivier Pass should not be confused with the Prinsrivierpoort, which lies a few kms fiurther to the south east, on the same river. It's an unofficial pass and is technically a mixture between a pass and a poort. Whatever you decide to call it, you can enjoy a beautiful traverse of the Prinsrivier Valley with its green pastures. There are some very tight corners, narrow bridges and fairly steep gradients to keep the route interesting with fabulous views of big mountains on either side of the road. You can also pay a visit to the Prinsrivier Dam, with its crystal clear mountain waters.
An easy drive through a poort that follows the course of the Aapsrivier (Monkey's River). This connecting farm road forms a semi-circular loop that joins the R407 near Klaarstroom with the northern end of Meiringspoort and is labelled as the P1721. With typical poort statistics, the road only ascends 89m over 4,66 km producing an easy average gradient of 1:54. The road is suitable for all vehicles and was receiving a major upgrade at the time of filming in May, 2015.
This fabulous poort provides a natural route for the regional R372 road which connects Prince Albert in the west with the tarred N12 north of Klaarstroom and Meiringspoort. The poort traverses two long mountains over a distance of just under 4 kms with a placid average gradient of 1:54, but hidden amongst the gentle gradients are a few desceptively sharp bends. This a lovely, quiet Karoo poort through a barren and wide landscape. A sense of timelessness exists here, which is a good tonic for the unhurried traveller. This is also Angora goat and sheep farming country.
A short and dramatic poort approaching Prince Albert on the tarred R407 from Klaarstroom in the east. This short poort often goes by unnoticed after motorists have traversed either the Swartberg Pass or Meiringspoort (both amongst the most famous of South African passes) and that is quite understandable. If you put the Witkranspoort anywhere else in South Africa, it would get plenty of attention. The poort is the final bit of mountain scenery to drive through before reaching the beautiful Karoo village of Prince Albert.
This steep, tarred pass connects Graaff-Reinet with the village of Nieu-Bethesda. Rubidgekloof was named after the Rubidge family that have been farming in the area since 1838. It lies on a tarred road (P0605) to Nieu-Bethesda, about 35 Km North of Graaff Reinet. It has a stiff average gradient of 1:15, with the steeper parts being at 1:10. The pass has an altitude variance of 283m over 4,28 km and with a summit of 1535m, you can expect plenty of snow on this pass during the winter frontal systems.
We try to keep things positive at MPSA, but the Easter road death toll is one of the worst in our history. The authorities are blaming the No.1 cause on alcohol consumption, with the rest being of a lesser nature, but they have nontheless, mentioned a disregard for the rules of the road as being close to the top of the culprit list - add reckless overtaking, ignoring barrier lines, invalid drivers licenses, exceeding the speed limits and of course unroadworthy vehicles. Just as we think the nation is taking a step forward, it seems we take two backwards. To those of you who managed to return safely from your journeys, welcome home!
On to more pleasant things...... This week (which we rarely do), we're taking you off-road on a 4x4 route on a private game reserve in the Central Karoo. The owners graciously allowed us to traverse their land and film the pass leading to the mountain plateau. Cyber drive with us as we take you to a quiet place, where you can see the curvature of the earth and where the eagles soar the high ridges.....
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A short traverse of a natural gap between two Karoo koppies, known as Blounek - on the R381/P0058 about midway between the Molteno Pass in the south and the Roseberg Pass in the north. This is a relatively minor pass by modern standards and it involves only a single gentle right hand bend and a small gain in elevation of just 59m. This pass should not be confused with another Blounek Pass on the R63 between Williston and Carnarvon.
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.
We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.