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Joubert’s Pass – Lady Grey to Barkly East via the Witteberg

Joubert's Pass, Eastern Cape HighlandsThe third highest pass in South Africa, scenic Joubert’s Pass crosses over the Witteberg Mountains between Lady Grey and Barkley East. Approaching Lady Grey on the R58 from Aliwal North, go through the town to Walton Street and then Sauer Street to link up to the gravel road to the Lady Grey Dam and Joubert’s Pass. Lady Grey Dam makes a good picnic spot and you can climb up the 25m dam wall via a natural staircase. From the dam, the road to the kloof has wonderful river gorges, mountain views, and on a clear day, a chance to see Lesotho. The views from the summit of the pass are not only incredible, but there are excellent views out over Lady Grey and for miles around.

At the Witfontein Dam, you can detour up a steep, rough service road which leads to a telecommunications tower six kilometres further on. This road offers the best views of Lady Grey and is the starting point for a number of mountain hikes. On the steep descent, “Die Nek” is a great viewing spot and is also the start of a hike, marked with a white hiking boot icon.

The eastern descent is not as long as the western ascent, but it’s steep and it’s advisable to change down to first gear on the bends. There are no picnic spots on the pass and not many places where vehicles can pass each other, but fortunately you won’t see much traffic on this quiet back route.

The next section of the road meanders through farmlands, crossing ravines and clear, icy mountain streams at drifts and passes the Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve, famous for its fly-fishing, off-road and nature trails, and nine kilometres later you meet the tarred R58 from Lady Grey to Barkley East. Allow around 3½ hours for this 60-kilometre drive.

Each year extreme adventure racers run across these exposed peaks in the 100km Skyrun which ends at Tiffindell Ski Resort.

Joubert's Pass Map, Eastern Cape Highlands

More info on the town of Barkly East More info on the N. Ukhahlamba area