Discover your wild side driving through SA's King of PassesGet off-the-beaten-track in the Eastern Cape and explore the R396 to Naude’s Nek Pass. This convoluted pass intersects the escarpment approximately where the Maloti, Drakensberg and Wattenberg mountains meet. As one of the highest and well known dirt roads for adventurists, the king of the passes is high on South Africa’s Best Roads favorites list.
Naudes NekIn 1896, the Naudé brothers built a rough track across the mountains which is now the renowned Naude’s Nek. Using picks, shovels, and a horse cart they followed the age old animal trail across the mountain.
Naude’s Nek Pass is a long, slow scenic drive on twisting gravel roads, either from Maclear on the R396 or Mount Fletcher on the D8018, over the Drakensberg to the village of Rhodes. It is the second highest altitude, gravel road, publicly accessible pass in South Africa and is a much sought after personal trophy for pass ‘hunters’ to say: “I’ve driven it!”, Zig-zagging its way over the Southern Drakensberg, the pass is a long and slow drive with an average gradient of 1:16. Starting from the Rhodes side (Western side) the road follows the Bell River valley, passing some lovely farms, many of which offer B&B facilities. This is also trout fishing country. Just outside Rhodes you will pass the turnoff to Tiffendell, via the Carlisleshoeksruit Pass. A great spot for photographers is where the Bell River curves through several U-shaped bends, whilst tumbling over small rapids. Some of the deeper pools make for excellent fishing spots.