Mpumalanga Tourist AttractionsThe Kaapsehoop Pass
Kaapsehoop Pass connects Nelspruit with Hemlock. As such the long pass proves an alternative, and far prettier, route to and from the Lowveld's capital.
Where? Links Nelspruit with Hemlock, Mpumalanga
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Despite this it is not often driven. The faster N4 is the preferred option.
Atop the pass, some 12 km and 1653 metres above sea level, is the little hamlet of Kaapsehoop. More often than not it appears out of the mist before those driving the pass, more like Brigadoon (a Scottish fantasy about a town that disappears into the Highland mist and returns for only one day, every hundred years) than a town in the sticky climes of Mpumalanga.
Fortunately Kaapsehoop Pass is as easy to find as leaving the N4 at Ngodwana, and the Sappi paper mill, to follow the road as it skirts the southern edge of Ngodwana to climb the mountain.
A couple of 90 degree turns and S-bends help the road gain in altitude quite quickly, whilst also offering a sneak preview of Battery Creek, and the plantations of the Sappi Mill.
And then you are at the top, inevitably shrouded in cloud or mist, where the road plateaus on the ridge of the mountain. The approach to Kaapsehoop is gentle, the village in sight some time before you reach it.
A visit, if you have the time, is well worth it. Kaapsehoop is as quaint as it looks, and it also caters to visitors with a couple of good restaurants, little shops, buildings of historical merit, hikes and accommodation.
The wild horses of Kaapsehoop are often spotted on the pass, so be gentle on the descent particularly as the initial few curves are sharp. Thereafter much of the downward drive is a steady string of curves before a horseshoe bend changes the direction and the road becomes more undulating alongside the Gladdespruit.
During the last bit of the pass the road levels out and approaches Nelspruit via a series of farms.