Cecil Mack's Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Ingwavuma, Elephant Coast in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsCecil Mack's Pass

Cecil Mack's Pass is one of the most remote border crossings in South Africa. It lies in the Lebombo Mountains on the boundary between KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland.

Officially it has been closed since flood damage washed almost all of the pass away in 1986. Since then it has been rather haphazardly manned, and the road is blocked at the Swaziland border. Neither country has done much about mending the route.

It is an out-there-and-back drive for the sheer enjoyment of the drive, rather than to get anywhere. Other than on foot, you will not make it across the border (although you will probably be allowed to hike into Swaziland).

To drive the pass you will need either a good off-road bike, or a 4WD vehicle to manage the gravel and the rough ride.

Cecil Mack's Pass is accessible only from Ingwavuma, a rural area deep in the Lobombo Mountains on the northernmost tip of KwaZulu-Natal.

To reach Ingwavuma, start north of Richard's Bay and take a right at Jozini before heading into the Lobombo Mountains. The route goes over the dam until Bhambanana where a left turn links you with the P443 to Ingwavuma. The route this far is tarred, though potholes are a hazard.

Drive west out of Ingwavuma. At this point the road becomes gravel and heads along the Lebombo escarpment, where the road incorporates a couple of switchbacks. Now you descend the pass. Take it slowly for the views and sightings of the Ingwavuma River.

On this part of the road were several rock slides during the cyclone that caused much damage in 1986.

Shortly afterwards the road is effectively barred with boulders and you can get no further, unless you walk. You are allowed to cross the border only once you have signed the book in the soldiers' hut.

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