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Latest News! 7th May, 2015

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Witzenberg mountains near Wolseley Witzenberg mountains near Wolseley - Photo: Photo - Horse About Trails / Wolseley Tourism

This week, we take pleasure in introducing you to a marvellous (and little known) gravel pass in the Western Cape, close to Wolseley. We discovered this pass whilst researching another obscure pass in this beautiful area. Whilst the gradients on the pass are quite reasonable, the road follows a convoluted route with several sharp switchbacks, up the mountain to a higher altitude plateau in the mountains, previously utilized as a pine plantation, but today is being progressively handed over to Cape Nature as part of the Waterval Nature Reserve. 

At present the road is still under the control of Cape Pine (the old SAFCOL) and a permit is required to ulitilise the road. We provide details of how and where permits are obtainable. The area is designated for the use of mountain bikers, birders and hikers, but vehicles are allowed up the pass, subject to permit conditions.

[To access the links, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the  title or the green READ MORE button]

Forestry in the Western Cape is a tough business and subject to regular mountain fires, reducing 20 years of investment and patience into ash. The Cederberg Wilderness area have also abandoned their forestry projects over the last decade and progressively handed the area over to conservation organisations. Much the same is happening in the Wolseley area, where even two weeks ago, the mountain burned once again. The access road up from the Truitjieskraal forestry village to the old Suurvlak plantation on the plateau formed between the Elandskloof and Watervals mountains, has had all the pines harvested and the valley is being allowed to return to its indigenous state, in the process greatly extending the land area of the Waterval Nature Reserve.

In our description, we cover in detail how to get there and where to obtain your permit. For the nature lovers amongst you, this is a drive to be experienced offering stunning views over "Die Land van Waveren" and the Witzenberg mountains. The road can be driven in a normal sedan vehicle, but cars with very low clearance should avoid it.

The pass is not an officially recognised one and we have had to give it a name for the purpose of indexing. We have produced a 2 part video for this lovely pass. The first part covers the orientation and ascent and the second covers the descent. Click on the link below....

WATERVALSBERG PASS

Tip of the week: For vehicles on gravel or further off-road - did you know that in many instances, the simple act of deflating your tyres to 1 bar or lower, will get you out of trouble in mud, soft sand or snow?



Trygve Roberts
Editor

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Mountain Passes 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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