Katberg Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Katberg, Amatola in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsKatberg Pass

Where? On the R351 just north of the little town of Katberg, west of Hogsback.

Overnight? Accommodation in Katberg, in Eastern Cape

The Katberg Pass lies on the R351 just north of the little town of Katberg, west of Hogsback. 4x4 enthusiasts and adventure bikers usually drive this, together with Mitchellís Pass, when in the area.

The gravel Katberg Pass is not easy to drive - often it is rocky, rutted and slippery in sections. The descent, if you choose to drive down rather than up the pass, is steep and easier when there are a couple of you driving in sequence to help one another over the rough bits.

That said, it is also one of the most scenically beautiful passes in the Eastern Cape. It gets its name from the Kat River, along the banks of which wild cats were often sighted during the 1800s. Obviously today there is little chance of running across anything other than a domestic cat, but the beautiful scenery, visible around every corner, the forests and the views out over the valleys below, are well worth any driving effort.

The pass is not difficult from a gradient perspective so much as it is the state of the gravel track, particularly in the second section of the pass where several switchbacks combined with the possibility of fallen trees or regular rockfalls, that makes driving an effort.

The first half of the pass heads mainly through plantations of blue gum and pine and then through beautifully forested ravines. Only as one gets higher up the pass does the road begin to deteriorate.

Getting up the pass necessitates a high clearance vehicle, but during the rainy season and/or when there is the chance of snow up on the summit, 1622 metres above sea level, then a 4WD vehicle is essential.

Katberg Pass is a precursor to The Devilís Bellows Pass, called such for the devil of a wind that tends to blow up the cliff faces to catch drivers unawares.

Getting there: the pass begins just after the Katberg Hotel and golf course on the edge of town

What to do in the area: hiking is high on the list of priorities and you can head into the forests from the Katberg Hotel

Highlight: there is every chance that youíll be the only one on the mountain as you drive the pass

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