Rooiberg Pass

Rooiberg Pass

Rooiberg Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 798m (2.618ft) above the sea level, located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The road winds uphill to the beautiful Rooiberg Pass, in the Rooiberg Conservancy, a 60,000 hectare mountainous area in the Klein Karoo. Built in 1928 the Rooiberg Pass is a pretty little pass, which offers a pleasant detour from the Route 62 just after Calitzdorp.

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. Built in 1928 the Rooiberg (Red Mountain) Pass is a pretty little pass, which offers a pleasant detour from the Route 62 just after Calitzdorp. Make a detour to Van Wyksdorp via the Rooiberg Pass and stop at the top near the cairn built over the years by travellers who placed stones there as a token of their gratitude for a safe journey. There are stunning views of the valley to the east, towards Oudtshoorn, bounded by magnificent mountains and north and south. 
This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. All primitive dirt roads may be rocky with areas or soft gravel or sand that makes travel unsafe for sedans or RVs. Rooiberg Pass can form a part of a route involving the Robinsons Pass into Oudtshoorn, then down the R62 to the Rooiberg Pass and then over Cloetes Pass, du Plessis Pass and onto the N2 at Mossel Bay. Head on down to Rivesdale, over the Garcia’s Pass, joining the R62 again near Ladismith, which is nearby the “Rome” of Cape Passes and Poorts, Seweweekspoort. Some road sections may require a high clearance 4WD vehicle, driven by a driver experienced in 4WD drive techniques and being familiar with backcountry conditions. The Rooiberg Pass meanders through beautiful ravines and over rocky slopes that form part of a large catchment area, through which several rivers pass. In the time it takes you to drive from its southern slopes to the northern side, you will have passed from a type of vegetation that provides you with proteas, to one where Karoo scrub is the dominant plant form. And the views of the Rooiberg as you approach it from either side are incredible. But take a moment to look behind you. A traveler on this road must be experienced and completely devoted to safe, slow and obstacle-conscious driving to deter danger. To drive this trail, you must have supreme confidence in your vehicle and your driving skills.
Pic: Brent Coetzee