About Ballots Bay Pass

Ballots Bay Pass is a beautiful drive. If it weren't private, every man with a bike would use this over weekends, at least for the scenery, but also for the continuous descent that makes it rather exciting to drive.

For those intent on a visit to Ballots Bay, there is another public route along Nelson Mandela Boulevard through Thembalethu that takes you directly to the little rocky bay. Whilst you might be able to drive most of Ballots Bay Pass, the final gate is remote controlled and you won't gain access.

Did you know? The paved, but steep, pass functions as the private access to thirty or so properties in the valley, and perched on the hillside, overlooking Ballots Bay on the Indian Ocean, just south of Lands End, near George.

The jagged cliffs of this marooned part of the coast are reminiscent of the Wild Coast, with only the crashing of waves, and the odd wild beach; an enviable setting for those who live there.

The only people to use the narrow and steep Ballots Bay Pass are visitors to, or guests of, the rather posh properties of Ballots Bay, or Carmel Valley (there is a split in the road to the left just before the railway line on the descent to Carmel Valley).

You would be forgiven for confusing the start of the pass with a gated community. The formal entrance, although not gated, makes its private property status known in no uncertain terms. The speed-bump ridden (there is a speed limit of only 20 km per hour), paved start to the pass starts through the suburb of Carmel Heights.

At a rather obvious split in the road, a jeep track heads right. This is the path to Ballots Bay. The road passes several homes before beginning the descent. Partway down, a little gravel road, meant for walkers exploring the area, heads off left. Ignore this and continue with the paved jeep track. The descent increases after this and you will need to keep a look-out for the left turn if you are intent on reaching Carmel Valley.

To get to Ballots Bay, continue with the road to the right, across a little railway line. The road now heads down towards a river crossing with accompanying dense vegetation and riverine forest.

After crossing the Mueller River the pass begins to climb steeply, accompanied by a few hairpin bends as you reach the top. It only levels off as you reach the gates of Ballots Bay private nature reserve. The views over the valley and the bay, however, even before the gates, are quite spectacular and worth having to turn back to drive out the way you have come.

Need to Know

WhereYou need to be a guest of one of the properties to access the Ballots Bay pass - Garden Route, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Ballots Bay Accommodation, Garden Route

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