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Otto Du Plessis Pass, Clifford to Ida Eastern Cape Highlands

Otto du Plessis Pass, Eastern Cape Highlands

 From Barkley East, take the R396 that branches off the R58, until you get to the turnoff for Clifford and Ida, the DR02862/DR02898 and follow the DR02862 to Ida.

Whilst still on the tar road between Barkley East and the Clifford turn-off you can see part of the unique railway linking Barkly East with Lady Grey to the northwest. Owing to the mountainous terrain, a system of eight ‘reverses’ was incorporated into the line, which has a gradient of 1 in 36, one of only two such systems in the world. The Class 19D steam locomotive that stands in Barkly East’s square is a reminder of the early days of rail transport.

From the Clifford turn-off the road ascends steadily through farmland until reaching the summit of the Otto Du Plessis pass. This point has panoramic views from the top of the Drakensberg escarpment over the Tsomo valley. There is also picnic spot on the pass.

As the Otto du Plessis pass descends to Ida it winds through sandstone gorges, forests, farmlands and across rivers in a breath-taking mountain wilderness. The Otto Du Plessis is one of the best birding passes in the area, and ‘specials’ include Drakensberg Rock-jumpers, Ground Woodpeckers and a variety of siskins.

Otto Du Plessis Pass Map, Eastern Cape Highlands

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