This attractive and well-known little pass is situated in the heart of the leafy northern suburbs of Pretoria, appearing as a welcome surprise to those not familiar with the area. The pass is very steep at an average gradient of 1:8, causing some vehicles to labour heavily as they make their way up the pass in the rarefied Highveld air. This is also true for the runners which take part in the Tom Jenkins Challenge, an annual event which features the pass and which finishes at the nearby Union Buildings.
This short suburban pass is one of three that connects the Johannesburg CBD with the suburbs to the north, over the low rocky ridge that runs along the east-west axis. Stewart Drive connects the suburbs of Yeoville and Bellevue East with Bertrams and Judith's Paarl. Those older suburbs of Johannesburg have experienced a great surge of urban decay and today are considered dangerous, high-crime areas. Stewart Drive itself has earned the nickname of 'Snake Way' because of the high levels of muggings, attacks and even murders, that take place in the bushes along this little pass. Walking alone here can be life threatening. The nickname of 'Snake Way' is more likely due the serpentine like shape of the road. Either way, the nickname is appropriate.
This short suburban pass dates back to Johannesburg's early pioneering gold rush days and is one of only a handful of official passes in South Africa that are shorter than 1 km. Within that 900m of distance you will experience gradients as steep as 1:7, a full hairpin pin and many very old dressed stone walls on either side of the road. It connects Upper Houghton with Houghton. The low, rocky ridge that separates downtown Johannesburg from the northern suburbs is called Linksfield Ridge and this little pass is one of three that were first built to give residents of a rapidly expanding city, access to new places to live to the north. The other two are Stewarts Drive and Sylvia's Pass. The ridges cutting through Yeoville and Observatory/Linksfield are a natural barrier between the northern and southern areas of Johannesburg. These ridges were first populated in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The low, rocky ridge that separates downtown Johannesburg from the northern suburbs is called Linksfield Ridge. One of the roads that connects these two areas is called Sylvia's Pass. It is on record as being the shortest official pass in South Africa, but is nontheless quite steep along most of its length. The road forms part of the M33 suburban route and conencts the Observatory area with Orange Grove. Many locals prefer this route to the more congested Louis Botha Avenue.
Another scenic suburban pass near Cape Town that connects the Peninsula villages of Sun Valley and Noordhoek with Simonstown via a wide, safe and modern road, better known as the Glencairn Expressway which carries the M6 route tag. The 5,39 km long road descends 139 vertical metres, producing an average gradient of 1:39 with the steepest sections being at 1:14. The road is popular with cyclists as a hill training route and offers wide safety shoulders. Simonstown is the most southerly town on the Cape Peninsula and boasts a host of scenic attractions.
Take a fabulously scenic drive along the mountain side above Muizenberg and Kalk Bay Bay along the north-western corner of False Bay and take in the elevated views of the coastline with its rocky shores, tiny fishing harbours and blue waters stretching away towards Gordon's Bay and Cape Hangklip. This 7 km long mountain road offers an alternative route to the more congested Main Road along the seafront and provides some excellent view-sites as well as access to some wonderful hikes up to the Silvermine Nature Reserve. This road falls under the category of 'Suburban Passes'
A small little suburban pass just to the north-east of Pretoria along the northern side and parallel to the Magaliesberg range. This pass called Baviaanspoort (Poort of Baboons) should not be confused with it's more famous namesake in the Eastern Cape - Baviaanskloof. The pass is only 1,7 km long and rises or descends a total of only 48 vertical metres producing an easy average gradient of 1:35.
Mpate Heights is a minor tarred pass located on the R68, a shortcut road between the N11 and Dundee in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on the western side of the town. It is named after the mountain which dominates the skyline on its northern side, today called “Mpate”, although earlier maps and transcripts always spelled the name as “Mpati” or sometimes even as “Impati”, which translates as “the place of good waters”. There is only one shallow corner on the pass, which is 2.6 km long and which changes altitude by 139 metres. The road is in a good condition and can be traversed in any vehicle.
This is a semi-suburban old road demarcated on the government maps as an official pass. It is a straight forward fairly easy descent down a road which is a mix of gravel and tar and heads east towards Great Brak River and ends at a T-junction few kilometers later in the village.
This fairly long suburban pass links Hout Bay in the west with Constantia on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. It traverses some of the most beautiful woodlands in the Cape and passes many exclusive wine and equine estates. It is smack-bang on the main tourist route and carries heavy traffic. There are no safety shoulders on the road, making it dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. At the summit at Constantia Nek there are some historical buildings and a timeless restaurant considered to be the oldest restaurant in South Africa.
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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