About Fullerís Hoek Pass

Fullerís Hoek Pass lies off R67 northwest of Fort Beaufort, within the barely known Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve. The ride is at once peaceful and beautiful with tree canopies looming over the road as it winds through the reserve, tracing the edge of the escarpment.

Did you know? Some of the pass is reasonably steep and during rainy season it is probably a good idea to use a 4x4 vehicle, as it could become treacherous as some of the roadside plunges precipitously. Best driven from the south in the morning with the sun behind you.

Fort Fordyce lies on the escarpment of the Amatola Mountains, a place of cool forests, wooded ravines and mountain streams. The mountains have strange shapes, almost like a herd of cattle in a field, which is why the Xhosa called them The Calves.

The road through the reserve, established to protect this rare afromontane forest, might be a dirt road yet it is beautifully designed and gives off road lovers a gem of a drive. The views of the Katberg and Hogsback mountains from the top of the escarpment in the reserve are quite magnificent.

The hut at the entrance of the reserve is not always manned - sometimes the boom is not even down. But there is another office at the summit of the pass where you can get hiking permits.

You may want to do one of the reserveís numerous trails, not least because there is every chance you will spot the rare Cape parrot, or Knysna loerie. It is a renowned birding area and birdsong accompanies any stop en route to survey the views. There are two overnight huts in the reserve for hikers. Fort Fordyce also offers horseback riding through the reserve available to visitors, and there are at least 10 climbing routes for rock climbers.

Fullerís Hoek Pass is 8 km of zigzags and hairpin bends, as it climbs the Amatolas. Once on the plateau above there is every chance of spotting the antelope and zebra of the reserve. Snow falls up here during winter. Close to the dam is a shaded picnic area not far from reception.

Access to the pass: is off the R67 between Fort Beaufort and Seymore. Easiest access is just south of the bridge at Blinkwater; follow signs to the Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve.

Back down: You drive down from the escarpment the same way you drove up. If you want a full day of it, combine Fullerís Hoek Pass with the Blinkwater Pass in the Mpofu Nature Reserve, which adjoins Fort Fordyce.

Need to Know

WhereFullerís Hoek Pass, Off the R67, northwest of Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Fort Beaufort Accommodation, Eastern Cape

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