Package Tour - 8 Passes of the Eastern Cape Highlands
Categories: Countryside / Motorcycle / Self Drive
The Eastern Cape Highlands - also known as 'The Wild Side of the Drakensberg' is a developing and unspoiled area, perfect for 4x4 enthusiasts and currently offering superb value for money. For the ultimate driving adventure combining spectacular mountain views with some of the highest passes in South Africa, see if you can complete the 'Eight Passes Challenge'. The region's passes were recently featured in Weg Ry/ Drive Out Magazine's "Routes that Rock" series, but as yet, the region is very tranquil and uncommercialised. We assist with maps, tailor-made itineraries, weather and road conditions and general local information about places to see at no additional cost. We offer a choice of accommodation options including camping, self-catering or catered at recommended establishments to suit your needs and budget. Special interests, e.g. birding, fly-fishing, hiking or rock art can also be included
At a Glance
Day 1: Lady Grey to Wartrail
JOUBERT'S PASS & LUNDEAN'S NEK
After breakfast, set off across Joubert's Pass, the third highest mountain pass in South Africa. Joubert's Pass traverses the Witteberg Mountains in a scenic loop. The road passes through beautiful farmlands before rising up through the Lammergeier Nature Reserve. Arriving in Lady Grey, enjoy a picnic at the town dam, admire the beautiful Dutch Reformed sandstone church and pop into the excellent local Butcher. From Lady Grey, travel through Sterkspruit and onto Lundean's Nek.
The Lundean's Nek road runs along side the Telle River, which forms a natural border with the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. This area was part of the former Transkei and you will pass many remote mountain villages where traditional cultures and farming practices are still very much a way of life. After enjoying spectacular views at the top of the pass, you will descend down into the beautiful mountain farming community of Wartrail. You may wish to stop in at 'Woolys of Wartrail' for a delicious cake, cup of coffee and to admire their emus before settling in at your accommodation
Day 2: Wartrail to Rhodes
VOLUNTEERSHOEK & CARLISLESHOEK PASSES
After breakfast, drive through the Wartrail valley and then climb up, up Volunteershoek Pass. At the top of the plateau the views are incredible. After passing Loch Ness dam and Tiffindell Ski Resort, you will pass under the highest point in the Cape (3.001m above sea level).
Volunteeshoek Pass down to Rhodes is incredibly steep, with hairpin switch-backs, but cement strips are there to assist with the most hectic section. It really is an amazing road with awesome views.
Rhodes has a colourful history dating back to the 1880s and features many Victorian buildings. In 1997 the entire village was proclaimed as a Conservation Area.
Overnight: Rhodes Village
Day 3: Rhodes Village to Maclear
NAUDES NEK PASS - HIGHEST IN SA
Today's drive is across Naude's Nek - the highest pass in South Africa. This pass is based on the route taken by the intrepid Naudé brothers in the 1890s. Following the path that their horses instinctively took they carved out the route with picks and shovels. Today the road is more usually travelled in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle, but it still presents a challenge, particularly in winter when heavy snowfalls are common. Local advice regarding weather and road conditions should be heeded before attempting this spectacular pass.
Day 4: Maclear to Barkly East
BASTERVOETPAD, BARKLY PASS & OTTO DU PLESSIS
There are a couple of options for today's route as Bastervoedpad pass is a serious 4x4 road and therefore unsuitable for some vehicles. Other options for the day include Barkly Pass and Otto Du Plessis passes. If you are prepared to start early (and the roads are dry) then it is possible to drive all 3 passes in one day. Please ask our advice as you which option will work best for you.
Overnight: Barkly East