About Bastervoetpad Pass

If you want to see scenery to die for then drive the Bastervoetpad, or Baster Voetpad as it is sometimes written. It links Barkly East / Elliot to the town of Ugie, which it does via the Drakensberg Escarpment. The Bastervoetpad pass is gravel, difficult to drive in places, and easier on the descent than the ascent according to travellers' accounts, particularly because of mist. And you would be advised to do so in a 4X4 or at the very least a vehicle with high clearance, as Bastervoetpad is not for sissies.

Did you know? The Bastervoetpad pass is named after the Griquas who settled in the area for a while before deciding that the valleys around Maclear and Ugie were a more comfortable habitation. The rock formations in the area are of interests to geologists as there is evidence of glacial formation.

From below the pass, looking up at the Drakensberg, the views are incredible and the rock formations and green hills nothing short of breathtaking. From the top you would be hard pressed to find such green kloofs and valleys, or views of waterfalls, such as those you will see when looking out over the escarpment.

It was back in the 1860s that Adam Kok, a slave who had bought his own freedom and was known as the first 'Kaptein' of the Griqua, and a group of Griqua people, came to live in the area around Kokstad. The Griquas were a group of mixed-race people (known as 'Basters' or bastards), the children born of Dutch men travelling to the interior of the country and the indigenous women they took as their wives.

En route, a group broke away and made their way instead over the Drakensberg and down the mountain pass that is today known as Bastervoetpad, settling around Ugie. Today there is a group known as Basters living in south-central Namibia, the Northern Cape, Kranshoek in the Western Cape, and at Kokstad.

If you are worried about taking the pass, particularly as mist can blow in at any moment, do the descent rather than the ascent, as the incline is bad in places.

Need to Know

WhereBaster Voetpad links Barkly East and Elliot to Ugie, Northern Ukhahlamba, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Barkly East Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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