Baster Voetslaan Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Ugie, Northern Ukhahlamba in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsBaster Voetslaan Pass

Where? The Baster Voetslaan Pass lies on the road between the Barkly Pass and the town of Ugie, close to Barkly East in the Eastern Cape.

Overnight? Stay in Ugie, in Eastern Cape

Baster Voetslaan Pass is also, confusingly, known as the Dr Lapa Munnik Pass. You can find out more about him at his memorial plaque close to the summit alongside another plaque dedicated to Nic de Bruin, responsible for mapping and building the western section of the pass.

Baster Voetslaan is one of eight passes known collectively as Stitching the Dragon's Tail, or the 8 Passes Challenge, that drives through spectacular mountain scenery only usually possible after a hard day or two's hike.

It is a rough pass through what could easily pass as the Scottish Highlands, but which is actually the vivid green valleys and rugged mountains of the southern Drakensberg.

It is also one of the most difficult, and certainly one of the highest and most technical, to drive, and should not be attempted in a conventional sedan.

Even a bakkie with an engaged difflock will struggle in dry weather. There are various accounts of the pass when it rains, on the Internet. It is best to consult these before venturing up the pass, particularly on a bike.

Many suggest avoiding the pass entirely when it is wet, as conditions get slippery at best. During winter it is often closed on account of snow, when it is even more dangerous. At mid-point one is at least two hours from help.

Another point to bear in mind is that the southern slopes receive a lot more rain and, as a result, tend to be wetter. The northern side is drier, on the whole.

Roughly translated, Baster Voetslaan means 'bastard footpath' and for some it is the bęte noir of mountain passes. Baster Voetslaan is exceptionally challenging. Scattered as it is with head sized boulders there is often little between you and a sheer drop.

Attempt it on a bike only when in peak physical condition, and preferably in a group.

It is not the gradients so much, these are quite comfortable, but the convolutions and condition of the road as it winds its way through ravines and steadily rises up the pass.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Northern Ukhahlamba

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