About Kei Cuttings

Between Komka and Butterworth the N2 passes through what is known as the Kei Cuttings, a notorious section of road for its high prevalence of accidents due, in no small part, to high mists and wandering cattle.

Did you know? This section of the N2 passing across the Great Kei River, and through the mountains, is also known as the Great Kei River Pass. The Kei Cuttings lie inland from the Wild Coast attractions of the Kei River Mouth, Morgans Bay and Cintsa.

The National Route 2 across the Great Kei River winds through a sinuous valley and up steep slopes on which it often rains. The northern edge of the Kei Cuttings is on steep cliffs.

Despite the prevalence of accidents the drive up the Kei Cuttings over the Kei River is a beautiful one. Make sure to stop at the petrol station on the Kei River’s east bank to view the steel girdered road bridge built by the engineer Joseph Newey, a short walk away.

This 13-span iron lattice girder bridge over the Great Kei River began in 1877 when parts were shipped into East London from Britain and brought by ox wagon and rail for assembly on site.

Work was interrupted on the bridge just as it was pieced together - with what must have been thousands of rivets - by the 9th Frontier War, when Newey and his team were forced to retreat to the Royal Hotel in Komga as Gcaleka warriors began crossing the Kei for battle - the hill close to the old bridge is still known as Moordenaarskop (Murderers’ Hill) where a few British soldiers were killed by Xhosa warriors.

There is even a story about the rivets from Newey’s bridge - left standing upright in the river during the battle - being used as bullets in the Xhosa’s guns. With the end of the war, the bridge was completed and so successful that it was still in use 135 years later, used by locals and farmers in the area.

Need to Know

WhereKei Cuttings, Between Komka and Butterworth, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenDaylight hours.

OvernightStay in Butterworth Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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