Passes

The passes listed here are those which gain you entry to the escarpment and Lesotho, where the average altitude above sea level usually exceeds 3 000 metres. Because of the height climbed (which may exceed 1 km), the thin air, the distances involved, their steepness and even their remoteness, passes are among the greatest physical and mental challenges that a hiker can face in South Africa. The condition of the passes varies considerably. Some can be easily negotiated by beginners, while others will require the use of ropes in some sections. Conditions are also affected by the time of year - in winter some of the passes may be iced up and too dangerous to use, and in summer they may be too wet.
Map of listings on this page
Amakehla Pass (Lakes Cave)

Amakehla Pass (Lakes Cave)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Amakehla Pass is a fairly easy pass to hike. It can be accessed in two ways: from Pholela Cave or by starting on the connecting path between the two caves.
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AreaCobham
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Amakehla Pass (Pholela Cave)

Amakehla Pass (Pholela Cave)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Amakhela Pass from Pholela Cave which is located in the Cobham area of the Drakesnberg.
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AreaCobham
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Amakehla Pass (Ridge)

Amakehla Pass (Ridge)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Amakhela Pass via the ridge route which is located in the Cobham region of the Drakensberg.
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AreaCobham
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Ape's Pass

Ape's Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

This pass is accessed via Gibisella ridge or by coming up via Marble Baths. It is a potentially dangerous path.
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AreaInjisuthi
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Bannerman hut at the bottom of this pass makes this a very popular pass. It is short and fun to do especially if you are new to the Drakensberg. Bannerman cave can be found over the summit ridge to the south. The pass is 3 km long and 822 up from Bannerman Hut. On the way up the pass (1.8km) you will see Spare Rib Cav ...
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Barricade Pass

Barricade Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Barricade Pass was nicknamed Fallen Boot Pass by Neil Margetts. One of his companion hikers dislodged his boot and it fell down a steeper part of the pass. If you begin your route from Fika dam, on the true right of the river is a well-used path as far as the base of Namahadi Pass. If you begin on true left, you will ...
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Beacon Buttress Gully

Beacon Buttress Gully

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Beacon Buttress Gully used to be the only path accessing the escarpment. This short and steep gully is a fun alternative to the Chain Ladder Route. After the steep climb beautiful view rewards you near the summit.
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Black Eagle Pass

Black Eagle Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Black Eagle Pass is not on the main escarpment and forms part of the Giants Cup Hikeathon.
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Bollard Pass

Bollard Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Bollard Pass is not marked on most hiking maps. It is closely associated with and named after Bollard Peak.
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Bond Pass

Bond Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

In the Giants Castle area to the left of Langalibalele Pass, a relatively easy pass with some zig-zagging between the each small cliff on the way up.
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Bushman's Nek Pass

Bushman's Nek Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Bushman's Nek Pass is situated on a path towards the Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho. The route is suitable for hiking and horse riding.
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Buttress Pass (The Passage)

Buttress Pass (The Passage)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Buttress Pass is very straightforward and, hence, is also known as The Passage. The pass starts on the contour path 2km south of Redi Pass.
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AreaLotheni
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Cathkin Mountain Pass

Cathkin Mountain Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Cathkin Mountain Pass is easily tackled by the more experienced hiker. It is rather steep but does gradually become gentler. The pass on the right is Ship's Prow Pass and Cathkin Mountain Pass is on the left.
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Chain Ladder Pass

Chain Ladder Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Chain Ladder is one of the easiest hikes as far as Berg passes go. This trail is also the most popular. The final 30m of the cliff face is ascended by means of a two-section chain ladder. The route is accessed via Sentinel Car Park which can be found on the road from Witzieshoek Mountain Resort. There are two sect ...
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Cockade Pass

Cockade Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Cockade Pass is one of the most direct routes to the escarpment in the Cathedral Peak area. It is split into two gullies, a main and a side gully. It is far less hiked than the other more well known passes but it has amazing scenery. Cockade Pass is ranked as moderate in terms of difficulty.
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Corner Pass

Corner Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Corner Pass is not technically difficult but does involve some scrambles around boulders. There is no specific path to follow, generally going along the narrow gully is best.
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Cowl Pass

Cowl Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The area in which Cowl Pass is situated is known as the Champagne Valley which consists of three extraordinary peaks: Monk's Cowl, Cathkin and Champagne Castle.
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Dagga Neck / Kgotjwane Pass

Dagga Neck / Kgotjwane Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Dagga Neck / Kgotjwane Pass is in the Free State.
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Dyke Pass

Dyke Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Dyke Pass is located in the Vergelegen region of the Drakensberg.
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Easter Pass (Christmas Pass)

Easter Pass (Christmas Pass)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Easter Pass also known as Christmas Pass is located in the Northern Drakensberg, Cathedral Peak area near Easter Cave.
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Eastern Gully

Eastern Gully

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Eastern Gully is a Rock Pass situated in the Giant's Castle area.
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Elandshoek Pass

Elandshoek Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Elandshoek Pass is situated in the Giant's Castle area. There is evidence that the path is frequently used as a smugglers/stock theft pass. Elandshoek is a pass with spectacular views.
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Elephant Gully

Elephant Gully

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Elephant Gully, although beautifully scenic and dramatic, is not climbed often. It is a narrow gully that varies in steepness and therefore may be a fairly difficult hike. It is also known as the Elephant Shortcut.
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Fangs Pass

Fangs Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

In most hikers' opinions Fangs Pass is definitely one of the most stunning passes in the Mnweni area and perhaps even in the entire Drakensberg. It is a difficult pass to undertake and should not be attempted by the inexperienced. It starts at a small waterfall where the Fangs tributary joins the Mbundini River.
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