This is a beautiful gravel pass that ascends the eastern side of the Watervalsberg near Wolseley and connects the town with the Suurvlak plantation on top of the mountain. The pass falls under the jurisdiction of Cape Nature as well as the state's forestry arm in the Western Cape (Cape Pine). The road is open to permit holders only - we explain the process of getting the permit lower down on this page. The pass zig-zags its way up the mountain via three extreme switchbacks, at a fairly reasonable gradient and is well designed, offering exceptionally good views over the Tulbagh Valley and the Witzenberg mountains to the east. (Latest news as at Nov 2016 - this pass is now officially closed to the public)
This historical pass was the first road to be forged into the Roodezand valley (Now called the Tulbagh valley). It starts at the Oudekloof farmstead and rises at a very steep gradient of 1:4 up the eastern slopes of the Obiqua mountain to summit at 382m. From there the road turns into the north-west and descends the western slopes of the mountain at a more gentle gradient to terminate near the canal close to the new wind farm between Gouda and Saron. This pass is not accessible by the general public, except under certain circumstances.
This old and little known route formed the most northerly access through the Winterhoek Mountains from Piketberg into the Tulbagh valley (also known as the Roodezand valley). This road is still clearly visible using aerial photography, but it is no longer publicly accessible and falls entirely on private farm land. We are listing it purely to index the four passes into the Roodezand valley and clarify the general confusion that the naming of the passes has caused over the years.
This is a modern, well constructed (but narrow) concrete road that makes use of part of the original historic Oudekloof Pass route and then swings away to the south to climb to the very top of the peak, where an array of Telkom and other microwave towers bristle at the summit. This is an out and back route, requiring drivers to descend along the same route to return to Oudekloof farmstead. This is generally not a publicly accessible road, with one or two exceptions. We obtained special permission to film the route, which provides magnificent and varying scenery, but it is seriously steep and as well that it is concreted.
This old pass which was built by Thomas Bain in 1860 can still be clearly seen from the new road (R46) which is on the northern side of the kloof. The dry-stone packed supporting walls of the old pass still support the original road, which was tarred in the 1930's - as well as acting as support base for the railway line, slightly higher up the slope, which is still in use to this day and was originally built by Bain as well, some time after completing the road. The old road can still be driven, but it should be noted that it is blocked off at the Tulbagh end at the railway station, where one has to turn around and retrace the route back to the starting point at the main bridge on the R46.
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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