Brandon's Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Newcastle, Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsBrandon's Pass

Where? Brandon's Pass connects several farms east of Harrismith, in the Free State, with farms in the highlands of KwaZulu-Natal near Newcastle and Dundee.

Overnight? Stay in Newcastle, in KwaZulu Natal

Brandon's Pass connects several farms east of Harrismith, in the Free State, with farms in the highlands of KwaZulu-Natal near Newcastle and Dundee. It is a daunting, gravel pass for which you need a good, solid 4x4 vehicle. To drive it in anything other than an offroad vehicle would be foolish given its formidable tough tracks.

Brandon's Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in South Africa. It has also earned its place on a list of 'dangerous roads' in South Africa. Perhaps because it is seldom driven, other than by offroad enthusiasts, not much is known about the pass. Combined with Keays and Rogers Pass it makes a challenging 4x4 circuit up and down the Drakensberg Escarpment. However neither Rogers nor Keays passes are accessible from Brandon's Pass.

Much of the route passes through private farmland for which one needs permission to drive. And it is not so much the gradient of the pass that is intimidating, but the difficulty of the landscape

It is best to tackle Brandon's Pass in the safety of a group as without the security of backup vehicles and recovery equipment, you might find yourself stranded, particularly after the summit of the pass where the road dissolves into cattle paths and jeep tracks.

To find the start of Brandon's Pass contact a local 4x4 club who will guide you to the Sondagsrivier Pass, from which the access road to Brandon's Pass peels off. You will also need advanced GPS navigation to brave Brandon's Pass.

The views on offer, even from the start of the pass, over magnificent mountains and vast grassy plains peppered with waterfalls and mountain streams during summer, and snow during winter are fantastic. But the summit is high altitude and thus exposed to severe weather conditions.

Close to the summit of Brandon's Pass Spitskop and Biggarsberg come into view.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Newcastle

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