Passes

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.
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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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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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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Ape's Pass

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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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Bannerman Pass

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Bannerman Pass

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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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)

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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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

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

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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

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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

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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

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Dagga Neck / Kgotjwane Pass is in the Free State.
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RegionFree State
AreaOther
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Dyke Pass

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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)

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Giant's Castle Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Giant's Castle Pass is a steep, rocky ascent. It is one of the most identifiable passes of the Berg. Giants's Castle has stunning views.
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Gray's Pass

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Gray's Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Gray's Pass can be described as great gain for little pain. The pass itself is quite short and is situated in the Monks Cowl area, its still however a difficult hike.
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Gudu Pass

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Gudu Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Gudu Falls Pass is a relatively easy hike worth doing. If you venture towards the falls you will find some lovely rock pools to swim in.
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Gypaetus Pass

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Gypaetus Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Gypaetus is a steep zig-zag pass to the right of Bannerman Pass started from Bannerman Hut.
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Hilton Pass

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Hilton Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Hilton Pass is found in the Injisuthi area. It may involve rock scrambling and possibly even abseiling. It is a very challenging pass.
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Hlathimbe Pass (North)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Hlathimbe North Pass is found in the Lotheni area. The North route splits from the South route at the Hlathimba river crossing. It is considered to be a more challenging hike than the Hlathimbe South Pass.
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Hlathimbe Pass (South)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Hlathimbe Pass is believed to have been used in historic times. The southernmost pass is the easier and more popular route. At the Hlatimba River crossing the South and North Hlatimba Pass paths split.
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Hlubi Pass (North)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Hlubi passes lie midway between The Thumb and Langalibalele Pass. Hlubi South Pass is one of the easiest passes to conquer. The Hlubi North Pass is severely eroded at the top portion due to overgrazing in this area.
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Hlubi Pass (South)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Hlubi passes lie midway between The Thumb and Langalibalele Pass. Hlubi South Pass is one of the easiest passes to conquer. The Hlubi North Pass is severely eroded at the top portion due to overgrazing in this area.
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Icidi Pass

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Icidi Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Icidi Pass is most likely the most difficult non-rock pass in the Drakensberg. It is very long, steep and boulder-choked. It should not be attempted by any inexperienced and unskilled hikers as it could become very dangerous.
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Ifidi Pass

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Ifidi Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Ifidi Pass is not often attempted due to its rocky summit. Along with Icidi Pass, it is infamous for being one of the most challenging passes in the Drakensberg. However, most would say that the reward is definitely worth the effort.
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Injisuthi Pass

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Injisuthi Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Injisuti Pass is a true test of endurance.  It is tough, steep and involves a fair amount of scrambling over boulders and up small waterfalls. It is not suitable for an inexperienced hiker.
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Inner Tower Gully

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Two very distinct gullies lead up towards the Inner Tower. Both gullies are extremely challenging scrambles. The gully has many obstacles but the struggle may be well worth it. The Inner Tower Gully is located in the Royal Natal region.
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Isicatula Pass

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Isicatula Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Isicatula Pass is found in the Bushman's Nek area. This pass descends from the escarpment into Lesotho by means of a narrow and steep gully.
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Jarateng Pass (North)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Jarateng (Jarding) Pass is in fact three passes that are absent or unclear on most hiking maps. Out of the three, the southernmost route is easier conquered. They are located in the Giant's Castle area.
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Jarateng Pass (South)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The Southern Jarateng Pass is the grassier of the three. It is Located in the Giant's Castle region.
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Jarateng/Jarding's Pass (Central)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Located in Central Drakensberg, the Central Jarateng Pass tops out high on the Southern slopes of Mount Durnford. It is most likely the easiest of the three passes as the northern and southern are rockier.
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Jonathan's Gate Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Jonathan's Gate Pass is situated in the South of the Berg in the Bushman's Nek area. It was once an active stock theft route.
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Judge Pass

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Judge Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Judge Pass is a steep pass which calls for some serious rock climbing. It is located in the Injisuthi region of the Berg.
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Ka Masihlenga Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Ka Masihlenga Pass is the quickest route from Lotheni rest camp to summit. It is a steep pass that leads to the top of the escarpment south of the Hawk.
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kaNtuba Pass

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kaNtuba Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The KaNtuba Pass is situated in the Vergelegen area. It is the highest Berg pass. KaNtuba has a sustained gradient and therefore it is manageable to hike.
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Keartlands Pass

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Keartlands Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Keartlands Pass is located in the Monks Cowl area. It has some steep sections and the ongoing erosion has formed 'steps' which can be harsh on one's knees. This pass is not on the main escarpment.
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Knuckles Pass (North)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Knuckles Pass (North) is located in the Bushman's Nek area. There is no visible trail.
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Knuckles Pass (South)

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Knuckles South Pass is an easier, grassy pass without a trail than the north pass route.
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Knuckles Traverse Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Knuckles Traverse Pass is located in the Bushman's Nek just left of Lammergeier pass and goats cave.
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Lammergeier Pass

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Lammergeier Pass

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Lammergeier Pass is located in the Bushman's Nek and is a relatively easy pass, however the last 1km on a steep uphill from Lammergeier cave has no visible path. At the top of the pass you will see goats cave on your right.
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