KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsOliviershoek Pass
The Oliviershoek Pass, on the R74 from Bergville, is often used as an alternative route to Van Reenen’s Pass. This happens when Van Reenan's Pass is closed off to motorists during bad weather, but you can also use it as a scenic alternative that might appear on the face it as a detour, but brings one close enough to the beauty of the Northern Drakensberg to make it well worth the divergence, even if recent reports have described the road’s disrepair.
Much of the Oliviershoek Pass, sometimes spelt Oliviers Hoek Pass, overlooks the Northern Drakensberg, as it sweeps upward. Those in the know use this, the Amphitheatre, and the Sterkfontein dam combined into a wonderful scenic drive. Officially, the pass straddles the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State and begins its climb just south of the Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve.
The pass itself and the surrounding area offers some incredible views over the Drakensberg, and to stay around the Oliviershoek Pass is to be in amongst the mountains, and unequivocally away from it all. Interestingly, and to add a little history to the mix, it was along this same pass, on 19 October 1837, that Piet Retief and his trek party climbed the Drakensberg.
To reach the Oliviershoek Pass from Durban, look out for the Bergville / Colenso / Winterton / R74 turn off just after the Escort Ultra City. From Johannesburg join the N5 to Bethlehem / Bergville / Qwa Qwa briefly, after which you take the left fork onto the R712, and another left fork onto the R74.
Not only is there more than a smattering of drakensberg accommodation offerings on the pass itself, but the Oliviershoek Pass area is roughly twenty minutes’ drive from the Royal Natal National Park, and an hour from Witsieshoek Sentinel Park, where one can brave the summit for an incredible view of the Tugela Falls