This short, but scenic poort offers lovely, mountainous Karoo scenery on a very easy gradient of 1:124 with few dangers. The drive along the poort includes two river crossings. It ends in the north at the second crossing of the Kraairivier, the latter which should not be confused with the Kraai River near Barkly East. (Crows River). The little known poort lies on a farm road, the P1864, that parallels the R329 on its northern side for many kilometers and gives access to the well known Timbila Game Reserve as well as two other poorts in the area - Medenpoort and the much bigger Kamferspoort. The road is suitable for all vehicles in fair weather.
The dramatic poort traverses a gap through the Grootrivierberge (Great River Mountains), which has been carved out by the Heuningkliprivier (Honey Stone River) which runs along the north/south axis, but via a convoluted path approximating the natural course of the river. It only climbs 58 vertical metres over 14km producing an easy average gradient of 1:241 - The beauty of this pass is its rugged, mountainous scenery.
April, 2017 - Information just received is that this road has been closed off by a locked gate and marked as 'Private'. We don't know if this road has been officially deproclaimed, but we will investigate and publish our findings here. [Source: Pieter Laubscher]
This scenic 4,5 km gravel poort has a classic ascent/descent profile, but as poorts go, this one also doesn't have much of an altitude gain at just 88m. The average gradient pans out at a very gentle 1:51, but there are a couple of sections with slightly steeper gradients. The pass meanders along the course of a tributary of the Grootrivier, which itself has a massive drainage area sourcing in the Great Karoo. The poort lies 30 km WNW of Steytlerville in the Eastern Cape. The attraction of this poort is its complete feeling of isolation in the heartlands of the Karoo.
The Grootrivier has spawned several exceptional gravel passes, besides cutting itself out a canyon of great length, depth and beauty from the highlands of the Karoo all the way to the confluence of the Gamtoos River at Patensie, this is the same Grootrivier that you will traverse on the Antoniesberg Pass further south and it also plays host to the fabulous Grootrivier Poort, which is the final pass at the eastern end of the Baviaanskloof.
This smallish gravel pass lies between the Bakenshoogte and Komsberg passes on a gravel road (P2243) which forms an eastern loop off the R354 between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland. The pass is straightforward and has only a single, right hand S-bend near the summit. It ascends 176m in altitude to summit at 1236m, producing an average gradient of 1:16 and a maximum gradient of 1:14. Smoushoogte translates into Trader's Heights.
The usual gravel road cautionaries apply of loose gravel on corners, corrugations and a possibility of picking up a puncture. The P2243 is one of the best gravel roads in the region to see the spring flower explosion between August and September.
This short pass is located about 35km north of Matjiesfontein on the tarred R354 to Sutherland. The pass is safe and presents no apparent dangers if the speed limits are adhered to. The pass is located about 45 km south of the much bigger Verlatenkloof Pass. No-one seems to know who the Turck is in the name Turck se Pas (Turck's Pass).
Although the pass is relatively safe and well designed, it has some big corners, but all of them have correct cross flow and if the 80 kph speed limit, as well as barrier line restrictions are adhered to, there should be no problems. This pass also provides access to the gravel road that runs through the mountains to the east of Sutherland, which includes the triple passes of Bakenshoogte, Smoushoogte and the Komsberg Pass.
If you didn't know it had a name, this little poort (wisely listed in the Afrikaans diminutive, so as not to be taken seriously) would be gone in the blink of an eye and you would be none the wiser. Some maps and references also call this poort "Die Poort se Nek" This is about as obscure as any pass can get. It lies on a remote gravel road (the P2259) about 40 km due east of Sutherland. It is of some significance in that together with its sister poort (Bloupoort) a few kilometers to the west, these two little poorts are important landmarks on your journey to the fabulous Karelskraal Pass a little further on.
Ceres has an abundance of passes connecting it to the outside world. One of the oldest is the Hottentotskloof Pass, which was the original wagon route between Cape Town and the Karoo through Ceres, long before the N1 was thought about. Together with the Karoopoort these two passes carried considerable wagon traffic to the northern parts of South Africa. The modern pass we drive on today does not follow the original wagon route, which is slightly further south, a little lower down the slope. The careful observer will be able to trace the old road and it is clearly visible on Google Earth, but no longer publicly accessible.
This pass is in reality just the initial climb leading from the Dwyka river to the start of the Rammelkop Pass. There are many references to the two passes being one pass, but the initial part of the climb traverses the farm Allemanshoek, thus causing plenty of confusion. To keep things simple, we have treated these as two separate passes.
The Windheuwel Poort is a short, natural poort which cuts through the hills and mountains adjacent to the Beervlei Dam, on the N9 route, 32 kilometers north of Willowmore and 80 km south of Aberdeen in the Great Karoo. The dam is instantly recognizable for it's unusual wall construction, consisting of multiple side by side, interlinked arched walls. The dam is also better known for being bone dry for many months of the year. Water is the most precious commodity in the Karoo.
Uniondale Heights is a 4,62 km long tarred pass on the N9 route between Uniondale and Willowmore. It is located just outside Uniondale and descends from the Karoo plateau of around 820 meters ASL down the mountain to the north of the town via a well designed, modern pass with easy gradients, good cambers and gentle curves. The pass terminates right opposite the centre of Uniondale at the crossing of the Kammanassie River.
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.