5 magical mountain passes in SA

Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - Are you searching for a challenge for your vehicle or a scenic road trip? According to Trygve Roberts, spokesperson for Mountain Passes of South Africa (MPSA), you either love taking on the mountains or you're not bothered. 

A trip through South Africa isn't complete without a trip through some of our magical mountains.

Top scenic passes in SA

The team at Traveller24 has selected five amazing mountain passes from SA's most extreme mountain passes

Which one will you tackle next? 

The bane of the cyclist: Suikerbossie/Victoria Road, Western Cape

The steep Suikerbossie Hill is one of the most dreaded sections of the annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, making it the recipient of many-a-angry curse word. For vehicles though it's absolutely stunning. For more info and visuals, Check out Suikerbossie/Victoria Road on MPSA

A photo posted by Usha (@vixen27) on


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The highest pass with the biggest altitude gain: Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal (2876m)

Along with Chapman's Peak Drive, Sani Pass (between KZN and Lesotho) is one of South Africa's most iconic mountain passes. Built in the 1950s, it has never been tarred, providing a challenging gravel climb accessible by 4x4 vehicles. Traversing the Drakensberg range, Sani Pass features dramatic scenery as well as treacherous bends and curves. The pass becomes trechourous during bad weather. Due to its height it is also prone to snowfall, so be prepared!

The Sani Pass starts at 1544m and rises 1332 vertical metres to summit at 2876m. This altitude gain is almost 300m more than its nearest competitor - the Naude's Nek Pass in the Eastern Cape.

For more info and visuals, check out Sani Pass on MPSA

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A photo posted by Dean Hooper (@dean_hooper) on

The longest mountain pass in SA: Baviaans-Kouga pass in the Eastern Cape – 73.3km

Note: This track should not be attempted by novice driver. Be prepared to get some dirt up the sides of the Landy or Jeep if you're hoping to take on this pass. 

For more info and visuals, check out Baviaans-Kouga pass on MPSA

A photo posted by Gareth Dale (@garethdale5) on

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The most technical pass to drive – Baster Voetslaan Pass, Eastern Cape

This rough, gravel pass is located in the vicinity of Barkley East and is also known as the Dr Lapa Munnik Pass.

The rolling green hills surrounding the pass are absolutely stunning and reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. 

Even a veteran behind the wheel of a 4x4 with diff-lock will have some difficulty on this notorious route. You will need a 4x4 with low-range and high-ground clearance to complete the pass.

For more info and visuals, check out Baster Voetslaan Pass on MPSA

READ: Hogsback - place of magic and legend

These are but five of our top mountain passes. See all 10 here: SA's most extreme mountain passes

MPSA is dedicated to the documentation, photography, videography and appreciation of these special routes, which without exception, have their origins in a necessity for easier access to trade, industry and community. 

Share your travel experiences or photo's with us via email at info@traveller24.com. You can also join us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.