Western Cape Tourist AttractionsMiddelberg Pass
Where? On the R303 between Citrusdal and the Koue Bokkeveld in the Cederberg, Western Cape
The Cederberg is one of the most scenically vivid areas in the Western Cape. Just three hours from Cape Town brings you to a wilderness composed of mountains, sandstone formations, winding streams, river pools and space that goes on forever.
Driving through these mountains entails navigating numerous passes, and the gravel Middelberg Pass is one of these.
Suitable for all vehicles, Middelberg Pass lies on the R303 between Citrusdal and the Koue Bokkeveld, south east of it. Middelberg Pass is one of three passes on this beautifully scenic route that, in essence, form one long pass.
Elandskloof Pass is closest to Citrusdal, the Middelberg Pass, as its name suggests, is in the middle, and the Buffelshoek Pass lies just beyond it. In-between the passes are beautiful farm-filled valleys with citrus orchards and dams.
The Middelberg Pass begins where the Elandskloof Pass ends, not far from Citrusdal and the Olifants River Valley, almost opposite the Moreson Farm. The initial ascent is not difficult with a gently curving gravel start up through the valley between Toppie se Berg and Meulsteenkop. Interestingly, where things begin to get a little difficult, at various moments along the Middelberg Pass, the road is tarred to help with the gradient increase.
This means that at no time is any serious driving necessary, and one is able to drink in the views despite the twists and turns, if one drives at a moderate pace. However, watch out for the odd hairpin bend that is surprisingly tight.
As you leave the valley below, there are wonderful views out over orange and lemon orchards. The drive only starts tightening, as you would expect from a mountain pass, towards the summit, where the views are worth the drive.
From the top one can see Grootberg and Witberg mountains and follow with the eye the pass as it descends ahead on the road. As the road merges with the Buffelshoek Pass, look out for a small parking space in amongst huge rocks, from which the views are again incredible.
A good place for a picnic lunch is a wonderful series of oaks near Op die Berg village.