Travel guide to the top of Prince Alfred's Pass in SA
Prince Alfred's Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.040m (3,412ft) above the sea level, located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The road cuts through dense forest and climbs 700 metres in just 14 kilometres. Avoid the route when it's raining.
Where is Prince Alfred Pass?
Set high in the Langkloof Mountains, the pass is 68.1 km (42.31 miles) long, running south-north from Knysna to Uniondale, in the Little Karoo. The road is called R339. You will be driving through gorges, mountains up and down, passing forgotten valleys and lonely houses.
Is the R339 tarred?
The road is totally unpaved. A high ground clearance 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended or at minimum a vehicle with high ground clearance. The pass is full of hairpin bends, and for hair raising moments, it narrows to a single lane in places. It is also, for rather obvious reasons, not a road you travel just after heavy rains. And you might want to think rather seriously about attempting it with a trailer or caravan. There is no mobile phone reception on the pass. There are no banks or petrol stations so fill up your tank and your wallet at Uniondale before you transit the pass.
Who built Prince Alfred Pass?
The weaving road was built by Thomas Charles John Bain, between 1860 and 1867 with the help of 250 convicts. He constructed 29 passes mainly in the Cape colony in his lifetime. This is not a quick drive, it is best and most enjoyable to take it slow.
What condition is Prince Alfred Pass?
It's said to be one of the most beautiful passes in South Africa. Not for the faint hearted as there are many blind corners and hairpins. Always drive at a safe speed, remember it is a gravel road so travel slowly. Descending traffic stops for upcoming. Look out for dust from approaching traffic. Hoot on sharp bends. No caravans or quad bikes allowed on the pass. The view at times is stunning and the vegetation and forests alone make the trip a worthwhile experience. In some areas, the surface of the road is eroded and there are potholes along the way.