Prince Alfred's Pass

Prince Alfred's Pass

Prince Alfred's Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.038m (3,405ft) above the sea level, located in the Western Cape, in South Africa. The road cuts through dense forest and climbs 700 metres in just 14 kilometres.

The road over the pass is gravel. It’s called R339 and runs from Knysna towards Uniondale crossing the Langkloof Mountains. In the 1800's Thomas Bain was asked to build the pass which provided him with his biggest challenge to date. He began his work on the pass in 1860 and completed it in 1867. This is not a quick drive, it is best and most enjoyable to take it slow.

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.

A high ground clearance 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended or at minimum a vehicle with high ground clearance. The pass is gravel and full of hairpin bends, for rather hair raising moments, it narrows to a single lane in places, and it is off the beaten track. 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. You will be driving trough gorges, mountains up and down, passing forgotten valleys and lonely houses.