About Greylings Pass

Greylings Pass is one of two passes on the long and winding R396 to Barkly East, via Rossouw and Clifford, from Dordrecht or Indwe. The first is Killians Pass (the more southern of the two) followed quite quickly by the high altitude Greylings Pass.

Did you know? The views from the northerly end of the pass are incredible, and whichever way you choose to travel Greylings, a stop at this end is mandatory for the scenic views.

If you’re driving from the northerly reaches of the R396, then it is Greylings Pass you reach first. The summit is 1956 metres above sea level and, as a result, often covered in snow during winter. When all is well with the world and the sun is shining, this pass is not a difficult one to navigate, but a 4x4 is probably preferable when there is snow on the ground.

Called Greylings Pass after the sons of Jan Christiaan Greyling, who owned a farm called Zwaagershoek in the area and whose sons subsequently farmed near Indwe and Barkly East, it is one of numerous challenging gravel passes in this mountainous region of the Eastern Cape.

Although it is not one of the renowned Eight Passes (Baster Voetslaan, Carlisleshoekspruit, Lundins Nek, otto du Plessis, Volunteershoek, Naudes Nek, Joubert’s and Barkly), it is, nonetheless, an enjoyable and scenic drive.

From the south the pass begins at the kink in the road where the Wilgespruit and Wasbankspruit meet, roughly 3 km north east of the little hamlet of Rossouw (Killian’s Pass is a shorter pass, roughly 2 km before you reach Rossouw).

From the north the Greylings Pass begins in the neck of the mountains known as Swartnek (the namesake black rocks are obvious from the nek). The views from the northerly end of the pass are incredible, and whichever way you choose to travel Greylings, a stop at this end is mandatory for the scenic views.

The 9.8 km between the two ends of the pass is a fairly easy drive, as far as mountain passes go. And although the gain in altitude is great, the gradient is gentle and one doesn’t notice the climb or descent until about the 4 km mark where there is a series of steep drop-offs and cuttings more typical of your average mountain pass.

Need to Know

WhereGreylings Pass, On the R396 to Barkly East, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Barkly East Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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