Eselbank Pass

Eselbank Pass in SA: 4x4 vehicles only

Eselbank Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 978m (3,208ft) above the sea level located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This route is not recommended for normal cars.

Can I drive my vehicle through Eselbank Pass?

Set high in the Cederberg Mountains, within the Cederberg Wilderness Area, the road to the summit is mostly unpaved. A few sections have been concreted due its steepness. It has an average gradient of 1:21 but the steep sections get up to 1:5. Things can get a bit rough on this road, so a 4x4 vehicle is required. It's more of a track at times and especially so in bad weather. Parts of the ascent are very narrow, requiring passing vehicles to 'make a plan'. To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 1.5 and 2 hours.

How long is Eselbank Pass?

The road to the summit, also known as Kerskop Pass, is 39.6 km (24.60 miles) long, running north-south from Wuppertal to Cederberg Oasis. 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 sandstone formations and a sandy track. Soon you will skirt some Rooibos tea plantations 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.
Pic&video: Back Tracks 4X4 and Camping