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One of the highest mountain passes in

South-Africa

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JOUBERTíS PASS

Lady Grey

Map by Google©

 

DRIVING ALONG JOUBERTíS PASS

 

BEFORE YOU START

Make the most of your trip and decide beforehand where you would like to visit. For Verkykerrand and the Communications Tower at the top of the pass, you need to get permission and the gate keys from Mountain View Country Inn (36 Botha Street, Lady Grey).†

The construction of a water filtration plant may block the road shortly after the turn-off to the bottom of the Lady Grey Dam wall and the road could be closed.† However, it is possible to park the vehicle and walk to the dam.† There is another turn-off which takes you to the top of the Lady Grey Dam wall.

The steep gradient or depth of the valley can cause a sensitive passenger to become anxious.† If your starting point is Lady Grey, the valley will be to your left.† Passengers with a fear of heights should sit behind the driver (on the right hand side of the vehicle).

 

JOUBERTíS PASS IN THE EIGHT PASSES CHALLENGE

The Eight Passes Challenge covers a scenic route that traverses the Eastern Cape Highlands (Southern Drakensberg) and includes some of the highest mountain passes in South Africa.† In order of altitude, the† eight passes are Naudeís Nek Pass (2590m), Carlisleshoek Pass (2517m), Volunteershoek Pass (2381m), Joubertís Pass (2236m), Bastervoetpad Pass (2235m), Lundeanís Nek Pass (2165m), Otto du Plessis Pass (2114m) and Barkly Pass(2020m).†

Joubertís Pass is the fourth highest mountain pass in South Africa and it has a remarkable gradient of 1:6.† In terms of dirt road, Joubertís Pass is usually in good condition. (Altitudes of highest points on these passes were supplied by Ivan Hansen, Land Surveyor from Queenstown)

 

THE ROUTE

From the R58 between Aliwal North and Barkly East, turn off to Lady Grey and enter from Brummer Street.† Stay on the tarred road which bends to the left into Burnet Street.† Turn right at the garage (Botha Street intersection), and continue to the T-junction from where you turn left and continue to the end of George Street.† Turn right and continue to the end of Stephenson Street and then left into Sauer Street and exit Lady Grey onto a picturesque winding road up Joubertís Pass.††† 58 Km further, this road meets up with the R58 between Aliwal North and Barkly East.

Soon after leaving town, the road splits.† The road on the left descends and takes you to the bottom of the Lady Grey Dam wall.† It is approximately 1.5 Km and you need to spend at least half an hour to explore and take photos.† The road to the right continues up Joubertís Pass.

The next optional turn-off is to the right, to Witfontein Dam and Verkykerrand.† Witfontein Dam is within view of the turn-off.† Verkykerrand is approximately 1.5 Km further and you will need at least 10 minutes to enjoy the view and take photos.†

Back on Joubertís Pass, drive across the top of a pretty waterfall that feeds the Lady Grey Dam.† Take note how the vegetation changes into alpine shrubs as the altitude increases. The next optional turn-off is to the left, and it takes you to the top of Lady Grey Dam wall.† At the turn-off point the altitude is approximately 1800m.† The top of the dam wall is approximately 1Km and it is recommended that you park your vehicle just inside the gate and walk to the dam wall.† Experienced 4X4 drivers could attempt to drive further at their own risk.†† You will be able to walk to the bottom of the dam via the natural staircase.

As you continue up Joubertís Pass you will find Witfontein, Bloubosspruit and Die Quarry (Alt. 1900m). Look up at the westerly ridges of the mountain and you will see basalt cliffs that look like the spine on the tail of a dragon. Locals call it AasvoŽlkranse (Vulture Cliffs).† The layer of basalt was deposited during volcanic eruptions in pre-historic times.† The western face of the mountain is often covered with a layer of snow during winter.†

Continue until you find Ian se Afgrond (Alt. 2000m).† This is where Ian and his friends had an accident when coming down the pass in his motherís new Audi.†

As you continue, you will find Rooiplaat where two road maintenance workers lived.† They kept the pass in perfect condition for many years.† Carry on and occasionally look towards Lady Grey as the best photo opportunities occur from this point onwards.† Wilgespruit (Alt. 2100) and Perskedraai are close together where a number of peach trees used to grow.† A little further, on† the outer edge of the mountain it is usually windy, hence the name Windpunt.† From here you will be approaching† the steepest section of the pass.† The gradient is 1:6 just below the summit.† The Neck has parking space for a few vehicles.† Stop and† enjoy the incredible views.† This spot is named ďHemel op AardeĒ.† To the west there is a distant view of the Lady Grey Dam, the majestic† ďAasvoŽlkranseĒ (vulture cliffs), the village and the plain beyond.† The eastern descent is short but steep and includes views of a lush valley ringed by mountains and dotted with farm buildings.† The stone tablet at Hemel op Aarde credits the seven farmers who built the pass.† You will notice a heavily padlocked gate and a steep road beyond it.† This is the optional turn-off to the communications tower and sensitive passengers are forewarned.† You need the necessary permission and the keys. Continue carefully down the eastern side on the pass lest you discover where Skrikdrif (fright drift) got its name.†† The remainder of the road meanders through a valley of farmlands with towering mountains and sparkling mountain streams.†

On the farm Unity you will find ďKar WegspoeldrifĒ (Car wash-away Drift) where the car of Tom Isted from the farm Olympus was washed down the stream during heavy rain (about 1955).†† Further on you find ďKar SumpdrifĒ.† Fortunately the drifts have been improved since those days. The Road drops into a valley through the Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve and nine kilometers further it meets up with the R58 that links Lady Grey and Barkly East.

 

Between Lady Grey and Barkly East

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Altitude: 2236

Route Distance: 48 km

Gradient: 1:6 (Very steep in places)

Road Surface: Gravel

 

 

Note: A normal vehicle can be used but it is preferable to drive a vehicle with high ground clearance, as the road might be damaged in places after heavy rain.†† Altitude supplied by Ivan Hansen (Land surveyor).

 

Mountain View Country Inn

 

36 Botha Street / PO Box 14

Lady Grey

9755

 

Phone: 051-603-0421

Fax: 051-603-0114

 

Email: mountainview@ladygrey.co.za

Official website of - Mountain View Country Inn - Lady Grey

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