Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Naudé's Nek Pass
Naudé's Nek lies in the southern end of the Drakensberg in the Eastern Cape, and connects the towns of Maclear and Rhodes. It is probably most well known as the highest dirt road in South Africa, with a summit of 2.920 metres.
Where? Connects the towns of Maclear and Rhodes, Eastern Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Naudé's Nek pass is also famous for its public telephone in the middle of nowhere. Even if it doesn't make a call, it serves as a great photo moment. The views from Naudes Nek pass, at no matter what time of year, are superb and worth the effort.
However, be warned. This is off-the-beaten-track kind of driving. Even in a 4X4 the road presents something of a challenge, particularly in winter when, because of its height, snowfalls are common and make the roads slippery. And the roads are not in good shape, although there are those who advocate that in an ordinary car with high clearance, you can manage the summit.
If you consider that the road's existence is thanks to the brothers Naudé, who in the late 1890s made it their task to find a way out of the isolated valley to reach cattle markets, with only a pick and shovel for help, its significance is rather awe-inspiring. Today there is a brass plaque at a picnic site just below the climb to the summit of the pass, that tells their story.
For all of the above reasons, Naudé's Nek Pass is regarded as the king of passes. It is full of hairpin bends, with a very good chance of mist. The Maclear side of the pass is particularly beaten and there are sharp stones that in an ordinary vehicle could prove rather daunting.
The approach from Rhodes is a lot more exiting, so try to do the pass from Rhodes to Maclear, and not the other way around.