About Ouberg Pass

There are three passes in South Africa called Ouberg Pass, or something similar enough that they become confused. One of them is close to Montagu in the Western Cape, the other is in the Eastern Cape on the R63 between Graaff-Reinet and Murraysberg (called the Oude Berg Pass), and the third is this one, with some of the most incredible views, and high on the list of the average off-road bike rider.

Did you know? Paragliders use the pass as a launching pad.

Lying in the Northern Cape the Ouberg Pass descends into the town of Sutherland, the coldest town in the country and home to the biggest single optical telescope (SALT) in the southern hemisphere. Usually one reaches Sutherland via the Verlatekloof Pass. But the Ouberg Pass into the town offers a rather euphoric alternative, if photographs of the descent, taken by bike riders from the summit, are anything to go by.

The Ouberg Pass reaches the top of the Roggeveld Mountains roughly 45 kilometres outside of Sutherland. This is an escarpment from which one looks out over the Karoo valley, the town of Ceres and even Towerkop Nature Reserve in Ladismith, on a very clear day.

The pass was one of two passes used by pioneering farmers of the area to reach the Roggeveld (rye fields) after which the Roggeveld Mountains in the Northern Cape are named. It was only built properly in 1968, and completed in 1969. Even today you might want to take something stronger than an ordinary sedan up the pass. The Tankwa River often floods making a river crossing almost impossible, and the road is not tarred and can be pretty hairy.

Need to Know

WhereOuberg Pass traverses a ridge of the Roggeveld Mountains and summits at 1401m on the upper Karoo plateau.

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Sutherland Accommodation, Northern Cape


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