Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsAntoniesberg Pass
Where? Antoniesberg Pass links the Groot River with the northern side of the Baviaanskloof Mountains.
When your introduction to a pass is merely a sign stating 'Mountain Pass Ahead', accompanied by a squiggly arrow, then you know you are not in for a sedate ride over the crest of a hill.
Antoniesberg Pass is a remote, sheer gravel pass that links the Groot River with the northern side of the Baviaanskloof Mountains.The pass itself is not long, only 5 km, but there are several access roads that combine to make it something of an adventure, depending on how you drive it.
It goes without saying, given that it is the Baviaanskloof, that you will need a 4x4 vehicle, at least something with high clearance, or an offroad bike. And even adventure bikers will need their wits about them as the loose gravel on the rough, steep bits can get hairy, particularly the eastern section between the pass and Patensie.
Something else to bear in mind is that it is a good two and a half hour drive before one even reaches Antoniesberg Pass, and to complete the journey takes the better part of a day. Those in the know swear it's worth it.
The road that links with Antoniesberg Pass has been described as a 'northern version of the Baviaanskloof traverse (or T1 route)” with very different scenery to that found in the Baviaanskloof.
Start your journey at Patensie and take the tarred R331 into the Baviaanskloof, but look out for the turn at S33.739303 E24.779037 to meet with the Antoniesberg Pass. There are no signs indicating the pass, and locals do not know the river crossing and climb as Antoniesberg.
The route winds past Stuurmanskop, Kraaibosch, Geelhouteboom and Grasnek farms after which there are view points over the Groot Winterhoek Mountains and the Groot River Poort that are incredible.
One needs to take is fairly slowly on the loose sections, particularly in the heat of summer. And, during the rainy season, the Groot River often floods, making for a difficult and sometimes dangerous crossing. It is prone to flash floods.
The locals refer to Antoniesberg as the Grootrivierpoort (there are two river crossings, however, which can make things confusing. The other is in the Baviaanskloof itself).
There is no where en route to fill up your tank, so make sure that you begin the journey on a full tank.