About Groot Doringhoek Pass

The Groot Doringhoek (great thorn corner) Pass is considered one of the highest mountain passes in the country, and thus one of its more dangerous roads,. It also makes its way onto a list of roads less travelled (although that might soon change as more and more bikers and 4x4 enthusiasts explore the nether reaches of the country’s mountains).

Did you know? The pass ends roughly 12 km before intersecting with the R56, where there are a number of journey options that include Steynsburgh, Molteno and Burgersdorp.

Groot Doringhoek (also spelled Grootdoornhoek) heads over the Bamboes Mountains that start back in Molteno and form part of the greater Drakensberg escarpment. It lies on the gravel R391 between the pretty, little Karoo town of Hofmeyr (once known as Maraisburg), and Burgersdorp (a really pleasant little town and a good place to overnight).

Less intrepid travellers take the tarred R56 through Steynsburg, hooking up with the R391 north of the pass - a safer option during winter months when it snows, as Groot Doringhoek lies above the snow line and is often closed because of snowfall. The scenery and the views, however, are well worth the few steep inclines of the pass. And, if you’re in a good SUV or off-road bike, then the Karoo gravel roads are usually in good nick and navigable.

Groot Doringhoek Pass is not difficult to find. It lies just over 40 km north-east of Hofmeyr, after the road heads through an unmistakable poort. As the poort begins to noticeably narrow, the road begins to climb just as another gravel road joins the R391 from the left. The pass begins to climb in earnest summiting at a nek through the mountains.

Need to Know

WhereGroot Doringhoek Pass, On the R391 between Hofmeyr and Molteno, Karoo Heartland, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Hofmeyr Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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