This rather tough mountain pass was named after one of the Griqua trekkers who came down this route from the Free State and on to settle at Kokstad, where they finally settled under the leadership of Adam Kok. The unfortunate trekker died on the pass from an accidental gunshot wound and this was how the pass earned the name of Ongeluks Nek.
Currently, the pass ranks as the 10th steepest pass in South Africa with an average gradient of 1:9,3 with the steepest sections reaching a gut wrenching 1:3. The surface is rutted, stony, muddy and rough for most of its length. It is mandatory to carry recovery equipment. The pass is usually accessed from Matatiele and the approaches are through lovely farmlands. Many of the gravel roads are corrugated, so be prepared for a slow drive.
Remember to take your passport with for this drive, as the SA Border control point is located about 4 km from the entrance gate to the Ongeluksnek Nature Reserve. We filmed this pass during October 2013 and there was lots of mud to contend with and several recoveries were needed to get a convoy of six vehicles to the summit. Don't drive or ride this pass on your own as it carries hardly any traffic and should you experience a mechanical breakdown or accident, you might not get assistance for a very long time. It is advisable taking a satellite phone with you.
Once you reach the summit, you are officially in Lesotho and a short distance later you will reach the wall of the beautiful, high altitude 'Lake Letsi'. There is no Lesotho border control point along the road and the Lesotho officials will accept your exit from their country at any other exit point, on the proviso that the exit stamps from SA are visible in your passport.
We guarantee that this pass will be one of the most exciting driving challenges you will experience in your lifetime. In our coverage of this long and slow pass, we offer two pass videos - one of which shows the recovery of a 4x4 - and a third video features some of the stunning scenery on the Lesotho side of the pass.
Featured pass of the week:
***** ONGELUKSNEK PASS *****
New passes added this week:
Groenkloof Pass (P2943) Northern Cape
Thought for the day: "Never put money ahead of family, relationships and health"