Messelpad Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Springbok, Namakwa in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsMesselpad Pass

Where? Nearest town is Springbok, 35 km away.

Overnight? Stay in Springbok, in Northern Cape

Messelpad Pass lies on the 104 km gravel road between Springbok and Hondeklip Bay in the Northern Cape, one of two passes through the Tigerkloof. These passes (the other is Wildeperdehoek Pass) are geographically linked and thus driven as one (you can't do the one without the other).

Whilst Messelpad is not much to write home about in terms of ascent (it does not reach great altitudes), it is exceptionally beautiful to drive for its dramatic scenery; accompanying the almost always dry bed of the Buffels River for much of its route, alongside imposing sandstone cliffs and, in spring, wild flowers that are nothing short of sensational (locals regard the pass as one of the best places to see flowers during the season).

To reach Messelpad Pass leave the N7 south of Springbok travelling in a westerly direction (following signs to Hondeklip Bay). The road is rough and best suited to 4X4 vehicles because of the corrugation, washouts and potholes.

Messelpad dates back to the late 1860s during the copper boom, when copper was the Cape's second biggest export. Discovered in Okiep, copper needed transport to the harbour at Hondeklip Bay. Incredibly this took six days by ox wagon (bearing in mind that the wagon and its wooden wheels had to engineer two passes through the mountain).

Messelpad was built as a result. The name of the pass, when translated from Afrikaans, means 'masonry road' - called such after the carefully engineered stone embankments that form the support for the road as it descends into the Buffels River valley.

Interestingly, around the time that the convict crew responsible for building Messelpad, under the direction of road engineer Patrick Fletcher, began additional work on Wildpaardehoek Pass (early 1871) the harbour was moved to Port Nolloth.

Messelpad Pass starts roughly 32 km from Springbok just beyond Luiskraal farm. The road follows the course of the Buffels River, crossing to the opposite bank over a little concrete bridge.

A climb follows before the road makes a sudden turn, levelling off to follow the natural mountain contours at an even altitude. One further ravine later and it begins following a tributary of the Buffels River before ending.

Only a few kilometres later the Wildeperdehoek Pass follows.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Springbok

Okiep Country Hotel

Hotel / Self Catering

Okiep Country Hotel

Okiep Country Hotel is an old authentic hotel, yet modern enough for your everyday needs in a small mining town in the ... more

Kokerboom Motel & Caravan Park

Bed & Breakfast / Self Catering

Kokerboom Motel & Caravan Park

The Kokerboom Motel and Caravan Park is situated 4.2 km outside of Springbok directly on the N7 highway between Cape Town ... more

Springbok Hotel


Springbok Hotel

The Springbok Hotel as its name dictates is centrally located in the heart of Springbok directly opposite its sister ... more


Please let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies. Click here to send us feedback if this is your attraction.

©Unauthorised use of the
photos is strictly prohibited. has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German. © 1999-2018. All Rights Reserved. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Sitemap - Towns A-Z