About Barkly Pass

Barkly Pass is the only one of the eight passes in the Eastern Cape that is tarred. It is also the one you can expect to close around the beginning of winter when the first snowfalls begin, overnight as they tend to do, making the road that links Barkly East village and Elliot more than a little hazardous.

Did you know? Barkly Pass is the only tarred road on the 8 passes circuit, but is still not to be underestimated as it can be extremely slippery in wet or icy weather. The sandstone buttresses and rock formations are magnificent. See if you can spot the tortoise (or is it a snail?) at the top of the pass.

Despite its tarring it is also one of those passes that is one thing on the way down, and another thing on the way up, particularly if you are pulling a trailer or caravan. But the views will get you every time.

Mountains here have that typical rolled effect, as you pass by Loskop and Vaalkop, that one expects to find in the Transkei - green grass all the way to the summit and the crown a series of obelisk columns like giants perched on the edge of a hill.

Even with the tar it gets slippery up on the pass, but back when it was a gravel road, things were a lot more tricky. It is not only the scenery though that will warm the heart. This part of the Eastern Cape is the type of place where you can lose your wallet on assignment and have a couple of employees of Telkom phone you to give it back, money intact, as travel writer Chris Marais discovered on an assignment that took him over the Barkly Pass.

No, you might not need to take Barkly Pass en route to where it is you are going, but you might want to do a detour (particularly as it's tarred) to drink in the views and breathe in what it is to be alive in South Africa.

Need to Know

WhereBarkly Pass, R58 between Elliot and Barkly East, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Barkly East Accommodation, Eastern Cape

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