KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsMiddledale Pass
Where? The Middledale Pass lies on the tarred S1101 linking Bergville, in KwaZulu-Natal with Swinburne, in the Free State
The Middledale Pass lies on the tarred S1101 linking Bergville, in KwaZulu-Natal with Swinburne, in the Free State. The journey is a more direct route between the two towns than either the N3 or R74 options, and links the farmers of the valleys to the rest of the world.
To drive this route through the Middledale Valley is a beautiful alternative, and well worth the detour (although you can anticipate the odd pothole). Middledale Pass is not the only pass on the S1101. Tintwa Pass is divided from Middledale Pass by only a plateau; the two virtually one pass, creating an upper plateau experience of scenic pleasure.
Middledale Valley is known as the 'lost valley'. It lies in a remote part of the Drakensberg, a geographical anomaly similar only to 'Die Hel' in the Gamkaskloof of the Western Cape.
The story goes that in much the same way as the farmers of the Gamkaskloof formed a closed community of about 160 individuals - made up of four or so families - that were forced to use horses to cross the Swartberg mountains to reach either Prince Albert or Calitzdorp because there was no road, so there was a similar community of farmers living in Middledale Valley. These farmers were descendants of the 'kaalvoet trekkers', a group making its way up the Drakensberg with Piet Retief, who then got left behind.
The media, when they got hold of the story of Middledale Valley in the 1950s (there are apparently pictures to prove it), labelled them the 'people of the Lost Valley'.
All that remains of the original lost people, although their descendants continue to farm here, is a suspension bridge made from oil drums and wire.
The pass proper starts just beyond Geluksburg, ascending fast up to the plateau of the Drakensberg from which there are beautiful views. This part of the Drakensberg is largely unexplored.