This scenic pass of 4,16 km descends through the attractive Diepkloof - a hidden kloof in the Swartberg and Skimmelberg mountains a few kilometres due west of the N7 and the Olifants River Valley approximately halfway between Citrusdal and Clanwiliam. The pass has some very steep gradients of 1;5 but these only last for short distances and will not present many problems for normal cars. The road does have some very sharp corners though, where caution needs to be exercised. This is a connecting farm road with low traffic volumes and offers a sublime drive for the less hurried traveller who enjoys gravel road driving. Best time to visit is June through to October.
This little known pass is just off the N7 route between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam and offers a tarred road in good condition that rises up the attractive Haarwegskloof with mainly easy curves and fairly comfortable gradients. It's a fairly short pass at 3,2 km and rises 165m in altitude, producing an average gradient of 1:19. The road is suitable for all vehicles.
This 7,8 km attractive gravel pass has a substantial altitude drop of 494m as it descends from the Elandsfontein farm through the Kransvleikloof following the course of a small river amongst high crags through a cool and shady kloof. It terminates at a T-junction with the N7 highway. There is some confusion about the name of the kloof with some references calling it the Jakkalsvleikloof. The official government maps show the higher section of the kloof to be Kransvleikloof, followed by the lower section, which is named Jakkalsvleikloof. Then to add fuel to the fire, the next section after the gravel road joins the N7, is again called Kransvleikloof. The last farm along the descent on the right hand side of the road is also called Kransvleikloof. So, for the puposes of this website and having to give this pass an indexed name, we are going with Kransvleikloof.
The Buffelshoek Pass should be viewed in conjunction with the Middelberg Pass as it is to all intents and purposes the southern half of the Middelberg Pass. The pass takes its name from the nearby Buffelshoek farming area and translates from Afrikaans into 'Buffalo Corner' undoubtedly relating to the presence of buffaloes here in the 1800's. The pass is gravel and generally maintained to a good standard. It offers fabulous views over the valley when driven from north to south (descending) - views that stretch back to the south as far as the eye can see in a blend of greenery and rugged mountains. It does sometimes snow on the pass, but during the summer months, it is hot and dry.
The pass compresses 30 bends, corners and curves into its 5,3 km length ranging from gentle curves to some extremely tight hairpins. Most of the steeper parts are in the upper reaches of the pass which also include most of the sharper corners, whilst the lower part of the pass through the farming area is much milder in terms of severity of bends and easier gradients. The pass is suitable for all cars, but be warned the surface can be rutted and rough at times, depending on when it was last maintained. We strongly recommend tyre deflation by at least 20% for any vehicle driving the pass.
The Elandskloof Pass is a comfortable tarred pass, designated route R303 and is the prequel (or sequel depending on your direction of travel)) to the much more dramatic Middelberg Pass when travelling from north to south between Citrusdal and the Koue Bokkeveld. A substantial plateau lies between these two passes and the farm Elandskloof lies at the southern end of the pass and is where the pass took its name from. Despite the easy gradients and gentle corners, it is a very old pass dating back to the 18th Century and was first a sheep trekking route, but has been modernised and realigned several times over the past 150 years. It should be noted that there are 3 passes with variants of this name in the Western Cape - the other two being near Villiersdorp and the Gamkaskloof respectively.
The pass contains 18 bends, corners and curvers within its 7,1 km length gaining 338m which produces an average gardient of 1:21 and it never gets steeper than 1:11. There are three bends with major angles of up to 150 degrees, but all of them have wide turning arcs rendering them quite safe providing speed limits are complied with.
Grey's Pass is approximately 157 years old and was designed and built by Thomas Bain in 1857 using between 100 and 220 convict labourers. The road has been fully deproclaimed, which means ownership (and maintenance) has reverted to the land owners. This lovely old pass is unfortunately not publicly accessible. There are certain exceptions, which will be explained later.
On the northern end it can be accessed via the gravel road close to the entrance to the historic Modderfontein farm off the N7. The middle section is shared commonly with the Piekenierskloof Pass, whilst the southern section lies to the west of the N7 and descends down to the valley floor over private farm land. Today the pass traverses the property of 3 private land owners as well as state land on the plateau, where the old pass has been obliterated by the N7.
It's something of a mission to drive this pass and having to comply with all the permission requirements and backtracking. Based on this, we suggest that this pass should only be attempted by the more serious pass hunter.
The Piekenierskloof Pass has a long and interesting history dating back to the mid 1800's when Thomas Bain built the first pass through the neck in the Olifantsrivier Mountains, which separate the Swartland of the Cape from the mineral rich lands to the North. Bain named the pass after Sir George Grey, (hence Grey's Pass) but when the pass was rebuilt to a more comfortable gradient in 1958, the new pass reverted to it's original name - Piquenierskloof which was simplified to Piekenierskloof.
The Middelberg Pass is a real classic offering exquisite views and rugged, mountainous terrain on a mix of gravel and tar with hairpin pins and some very steep drop-offs. It traverses the Middelberg mountain range between the Koue Bokkeveld and Citrusdal. It is suitable for all vehicles and together with the Buffelshoek pass which precedes it from the south and the Elandskloof Pass which follows it in the north, this trio of passes is virtually one long pass.
On the flatter plateau areas there are farms peppered with citrus orchards and rooibos plantations, with blue dams with crystal clear, high quality water. The pass has a stiff average gradient of 1:14 with some sections (which are tarred) as steep as 1:5. This is a fairly modern pass having been constructed some 50 years ago.
Be aware that the maintenance of this road is not great, which means the gravel sections can be rough, rutted and corrugated. We recommend tyre deflation for improved traction with the added benefit of providing a softer ride. Take the pressures down to at least 20% of normal.
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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