Eselbank pass/Die Poort is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 973m above the sea level located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This pass is located on the road between Cederberg Oasis and Wuppertal.
The road still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. A quick glance at the map, at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. The route starts in Wupperthal village. Follow the only track south over a low-level causeway which is often under water. The track sticks to the eastern bank for about 2 kms, where the road then forks. A sign will warn you that only 4x4 vehicles are recommended for the route. Take the right-hand fork and the road immediately begins climbing on a concrete base. After about 500 meters, there is a sharp hairpin bend and the road heads south again, climbing steadily for another 2 kms to the next switchback onto concrete. The second half is very steep, so take it slowly and enjoy the amazing views all around you. Eventually, the summit is reached after about 5 kms, set amongst typical weathered red Cederberg sandsone formations and a sandy track. Soon you will skirt some Rooibos tea planations and experience some relatively easy sections as the road heads south towards the small community of Eselbank. The track can be soft and sandy here, and in the hot dry months - if you are not in a 4x4 - this section might give you problems. Before the sharp right-hand bend at the causeway at Eselbank, it is worth continuing straight on for 200 meters to look at the Eselbank Waterfall. This route is not recommended for normal cars. Things can get a bit rough on this road. It's more of a track at times and especially so in bad weather. Parts of the ascent up the Cederberg are very narrow, requiring passing vehicles to 'make a plan'. The gradient on some of the concrete sections is very steep - up to 1/5 !
Pic: Paul Adant