Barkly Pass

The Barkly Pass is the only one of the eight passes in the Eastern Cape that is tarred

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Barkly Pass

Barkly Pass is the only one of the eight passes in the Eastern Cape that is tarred. It is also the one you can expect to close around the beginning of winter when the first snowfalls begin, overnight as they tend to do, making the road that links Barkly East village and Elliot more than a little hazardous.

Where? R58 between Elliot and Barkly East, Eastern Cape

When? Best during daylight hours

How much? Free

Overnight? See Barkly East accommodation, in Eastern Cape

Despite its tarring it is also one of those passes that is one thing on the way down, and another thing on the way up, particularly if you are pulling a trailer or caravan. But the views will get you every time. Mountains here have that typical rolled effect, as you pass by Loskop and Vaalkop, that one expects to find in the Transkei - green grass all the way to the summit and the crown a series of obelisk columns like giants perched on the edge of a hill.

Even with the tar it gets slippery up on the pass, but back when it was a gravel road, things were a lot more tricky. It is not only the scenery though that will warm the heart. This part of the Eastern Cape is the type of place where you can lose your wallet on assignment and have a couple of employees of Telkom phone you to give it back, money intact, as travel writer Chris Marais discovered on an assignment that took him over the Barkly Pass.

No, you might not need to take Barkly Pass en route to where it is you are going, but you might want to do a detour (particularly as it's tarred) to drink in the views and breathe in what it is to be alive in South Africa.

Popular Activities in or near Barkly Pass

Hike in Wild Mountain Country


If the hike up the slopes doesn’t take your breath away, then the views at the top will. Gaze down on gorges, valleys, streams, buck and wild flowers, revel in the freedom and enjoy the silence. Quench your thirst from the crystal clear...

More info and contact details: Hike in Wild Mountain Country

Horse Riding


The Southern Drakensberg mountains between Barkly East and Rhodes offer fantastic views and exhilarating riding including mountain ascents and faster trails through the valleys for experienced riders. It doesn’t matter if you have never ridden...

More info and contact details: Horse Riding in Wild Mountain Country

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