Due to bad behaviour by some adventure motorcyclists, this route has been permanently closed by the farm owner of Achterfontein.You may still drive/ride the Kraaiberg Pass, but will have to turn back at the 19 km mark. Likewise from the eastern side you may only travel the first flat section up till the crossing of the Tra Tra River. Should this situation ever change, you will be the first to know. It is with deep regret that we have lost this treasured route, but we cannot blame the farmer. At MPSA we support all the farmers of South Africa. Under no circumstances should gate locks or fences be tampered with. We have decided to leave this page open, so that anyone can at least still watch the videos and see what its all about. ~ Editor.
The Old Postal Route is a basic gravel track of 53,2 km that connects the Biedouw Valley in the Cederberg with the Eilandsvlei farm near the R355 in the Tankwa Karoo. This was once a route used to deliver post between these two remote communities, but is apparently a myth. The real postal route is a footpath that follows the Tra Tra River to Wupperthal.
The route consists of two mountain passes separated by a long high altitude plateau and includes a bridgeless crossing of the Tra Tra and Doring Rivers at the eastern end. It is not suitable for normal cars. Four wheel drive with high clearance is essential and low range is an additional benefit to have at your disposal.
Most of the route is Grade 1 and fairly straight-forward to drive, but here and there a few tricky sections raise the bar to Grade 3, depending on weather conditions. The two most likely places drivers will have problems, is the crossing of the Tra-Tra and Doring Rivers and offroad navigation, as there are multiple unsigned intersections, so your navigation needs to be precise. Unless you have a GPS loaded with Tracks4Africa where you can see the route clearly, you will more than likely get lost. We don't recommend driving this route between June and October, when water levels in the rivers will probably be too high. In summer, the river crossing is usually bone dry.
The route will take between 4 to 6 hours to complete, depending on a number of factors. There are cottages and camping available at Mertenshof near the western start and good camping can be enjoyed at Die Mond off the R355 at the opposite end of the route.
The route is best driven in a group in case of a breakdown. Take full recovery gear with as well as a puncture repair kit that you know how to use. If you enjoy remote gravel road driving, with huge vistas and a unique stillness you will find in few other places in South Africa, then this route is for you.
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Our featured pass this week is another humdinger - a gravel pass of note; packed with sharp corners, awkwardly banked bends, steep-drop-offs, rough surfaces but with the reward of mind-boggling views that will take your breath away. It's not really suitable for normal city cars, so rather travel in a higher clearance vehicle or an SUV.
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A steep and winding gravel pass over the Kraaiberg mountain which forms the southern barrier to the Biedouw Valley. The road connects the Biedouw Valley with the higher altitude farms to the south and east. Some of the gradients are steep and there are three hairpin bends to contend with. We would not recommend driving this pass in a normal car, but a high clearance 'bakkie' will manage, except in very wet weather. There are long sections on this pass which are very stony, which will present problems for low clearance cars.
This pass also marks the western end or start of the Old Postal Route, which is covered fully as a separate entry on this website. Anyone wanting to drive the Old Postal Route should take the hyperlink to get all the information necessary to safely complete the route.
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.