About Fetcani Pass

There are many mountain passes in the highlands of the Eastern Cape, and Fetcani Pass is no exception, functioning as a passage between other more strapping mountain passes.

Did you know? Fetcani Pass begins a little after the summit of the remarkable Barkly Pass on the tarred R58 out of Elliot in the Eastern Cape.

Fetcani Pass begins a little after the summit of the remarkable Barkly Pass on the tarred R58 out of Elliot. You will need to turn right onto the gravel R393 just after the road passes the Mountain Shadows Hotel to find the start of the pass, roughly 1 km later (it’s clearly marked on Google Maps).

Also known as the Mfecani Pass, Fetcani doesn’t even measure on the Richter scale of mountain passes when compared to other passes in the vicinity (the eight passes of the HIghlands spring to mind). But the little pass is important as it gets one off the main route and into the more remote parts of the southern Drakensberg.

It is an all-vehicle pass, weather-dependent, and an easy drive with only moderately steep sections. In the colder months you may need to reconsider taking the pass if you are not in a 4WD, however, as the altitude means there is often thick snow on the road. Even after heavy rain the road is taxing for ordinary vehicles.

But it’s a fairly quick pass, and one reaches the summit by the 3.6 km mark, even if the road gets a little bumpy and irregular the closer one gets to the top. Thereafter the road immediately descends steeply into the next valley, continuing on its westerly course.

Before you know it, the pass is over and the turn-off to Bastervoetslaan Pass on the road just north of it is a reminder that the area is 4X4 country. Bastervoetslaan is one of the most notorious passes around Rhodes, and the only one of the eight that is, without exception, a high clearance pass that needs expert navigation to complete.

Still to come, if you continue on the R393, is Lundin’s Nek Pass, provided you ignore the right-hand fork to Rhodes. Lundin’s Nek lies 70 km after the Fetcani Pass, just after Wartrail.

Need to Know

WhereFetcani Pass, R58 out of Elliot, Northern Ukhahlamba, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Barkly East Accommodation, Eastern Cape

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