Grasnek Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Baviaanskloof, Karoo Heartland in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsGrasnek Pass

Where? 40 km from Patensie in the Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape

Overnight? Accommodation in Baviaanskloof, in Eastern Cape

The ‘home of the baboons’ (Baviaanskloof) is a deep ravine through which sweep a number of mountain passes that are nothing short of spectacular. It is not unusual, in the early morning stillness, to hear the bark of the baboon in the surrounding hills of the kloof from campsites in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area.

It depends on whether you drive the kloof from the east or the west as to which of the four passes you experience when. There is but one main road through here.

If you enter from the west, your entrance is over the Nuwekloof pass. You’ll cross rivers no fewer than 42 times, but probably only notice the numerous dry river beds after it rains, when they’re a little trickier to navigate. They’re one of the challenges of the route during the rainy season (spring and autumn).

Once in the Zandvlakte the road heads east past Smitskraal, a public campsite. This side of the kloof is navigated via three sweeping mountain passes - Grasnek, followed swiftly by Holgat and Combrinks.

Grasnek Pass is about 8 km long and the views from the ridge and the top are incredible. They far outweigh the intermittent discomfort of the steep gradients. You’ll be more comfortable in a 4x4 for this pass, but there are those who drive the Baviaanskloof in a 4x2 (just not during the rainy season).

The Grasnek Pass gets off to an unremarkable start, with a little partially obscured sign that simply reads: Old Mountain Pass. The road, which can get a little rough in parts, begins immediately to climb. As you reach the summit the views open out, and it is lucky that the road becomes a little easier to navigate just in time to drink in views of the valley below.

It is only as the pass begins to descend that a couple of view stops materialise. After these the pass drops in a series of convolutions, twists and turns for about 4 km until the next Baviaans River crossing, in what can only be described as one of the busier parts of the kloof (best out of school holidays). Parts of the pass are narrow enough to make passing other vehicles difficult.

Tip: a must-have for any drive through the Baviaanskloof is Slingsby’s Baviaanskloof map - which highlights swimming holes, picnic sites, campsites, forested areas, distances in kilometres between road junctions, and 4x4 routes.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Baviaanskloof

Royal Hotel Steytlerville

Hotel / Self Catering

Royal Hotel Steytlerville

Royal Hotel Steytlerville offers bed only and self catering accommodation in Steytlerville. All rooms are offered on a ... more

Ripple Hill Hotel

Hotel / Bed & Breakfast

Ripple Hill Hotel

On the brim of the magnificent Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve in the heart of the citrus farming community of Patensie, lies ... more

Hope Cottage

Self Catering

Hope Cottage

Situated in the small village of Rietbron in the Eastern Cape, Hope Cottage offers accommodation in a quaint one bedroom ... more


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