Middledale Pass in Swinburne, Free State
Middledale Pass is a tarred road that links Bergville with the little village of Swinburne, linking the farmers of the valley with the rest of the world with a more direct road, the S1101, than either the N3 or the R74. The Pass runs through the Drakensburg on a North/South axis.
The road actually has two Passes, the other being the Tintwa Pass. Approaching from the north, from Swinburne, you would need to turn off the N3 at the Montrose turn but instead of going into the fast food and shops area, continue straight until you see a gravel road to the left, turn left and travel another 12.7 km and turn left again onto the S1101. From this point you will first travel the Tintwa Pass before reaching the Middledale Pass.
Driving through the Middledale Valley is a beautiful alternative and well worth the detour, even if you do have to watch out for the odd pothole or two. Drivers also need to look out for cattle and goats! The Middledale Valley is known as the 'lost valley'. It lies in a remote part of the Drakensberg, a geographical anomaly similar only to Die Hel in the Gamkaskloof Pass.
The Pass starts with a shallow descent, another gravel road to the left just after the start will lead you to the Sandspruit Pass, but continuing with the Middledale Pass the road will bend and follow the spine of the ridge, still descending and opens up to magnificent views of the mountains and the valley.
Middledale Pass is full of sharp corners, steep gradients and stunning scenery. A few sharp corners will not cause any problems, but it is advisable to keep your speed low because of steep drop offs with no guard rails.
Thing to do and see
- Tintwa Pass
- Farm Animals
- Small Bridges & Streams
- Drakensberg Mountain Views
- Sandspruit Pass, nearby
Free to Drive
Best during daylight hours
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