Dare to drive the Volunteershoek Pass
Volunteershoek Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.567m (8421 ft) above the sea level, sea level, located in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is strictly a 4x4 only route. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.
The pass, also known as Bidstone or Volenteershoek Pass, is located on a gravel road linking Rhodes and Tiffindell Ski Resort. This tough, high-altitude gravel pass is relatively long at 9,64km, and it rises dramatically from 1916m ASL to 2567m. With its 1/14 average climb gradient, this pass can be called nothing but 'steep'! the first 5 km offers gradients of up to 1:3. Approaching Tiffindell Ski Resort, the road climbs up the highest point in the Cape (at 3.001m above sea level). Known by local tribes as "Makhollo" (Great Mother), the Europeans named this peak Ben McDhui.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Temperatures at these heights can reach -22 degrees centigrade in winter, so enquire about conditions before setting out and be prepared. The road is narrow with some precipitous drop-offs, so do pause to check for oncoming vehicles coming up the pass as they have right of way. After the steepest section, the road gives wonderful views of Halstone Krans and the valley farmlands beyond. The road is scenic and steep. You do need controlled power, particularly where the cement strips zigzag their way up the most extreme section.
Pic&Video: So Far Hiking Blog