Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has been obliged to closed the popular Mike's Pass 4x4 route at Cathedral Peak in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site with immediate effect.

Consistently heavy rains have fallen in the area for many days, resulting in landslides on sections of the Pass.

Mike's pass will remain closed until a proper assessment has been conducted as to the safety of the route.

Visitors to the Cathedral Peak area are advised to telephone their destinations for information about local conditions.

Many of the rivers and watercourses in the area are in full spate and do occasionally cover low-level bridges.

For safety sake motorists are cautioned against trying to cross flooded bridges, and are advised to wait until the water-levels have visibly subsided.

Numbers to call are:

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Didima Resort: 036 4888 000; or the Cathedral Peak Hotel on 036 488 1888.

AJG/ News Item No: 2011 - 01 - 05

For further information contact the Media Manager on 033 845 1235; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax 033 845 1299.

Extra info can also be seen on this forum topic:

https://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/55381-mike-s-pass.html

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WarrenM's Avatar
WarrenM replied to: #72590 08 Jan 2018 10:23
Thank you to everyone for their input.

We descended the organ pipes yesterday, it was tough going as we managed a brisk 5 hours from Rolands to didima camp, 19ks.

The weather was extremely hot and we struggled in the heat from very early in the day.

In terms of the route, by the time we got to the jeep track around the top of Mikes pass we were seriously low on water so Tony's suggestion was the only real option in hope of finding water when we hit the road.

We started the descend off the jeep track close to the weather station, which when looking back it was probably to soon, and we should have stuck on the jeep track for a bit longer and then started the descend, but some walking through nobbly grass (sorry I need to correct Dave, as icidi pass last week was bundu bashing, what we did was reasonably pleasant in comparison :whistle: ), we got to a point where I expected the top of the zig zags to be and started looking for them as I could see the bend in the road so I knew we were close.

I found the zig zags easy enough by being in the right place, but they are fairly over grown with grass, once you are on them you can make them out and get down to the jeep track. When looking for the Zig Zags the day before they are visible from the top of Tryme hill.

Before we got to the drain under the road we could hear the water running through it, which was a relief as I had been out of water, thanks Tony.

The next shortcut we were going to attempt was from the jeep track, around the staff accommodation, to the river and up to Didima, but we had just seen a massive puff adder on the road very close to where we wanted to take the shortcut, and to be honest I lost my nerve to head through the grass to the river not seeing what was under foot, so we make our way down to the gate at the bottom of mikes pass and then up to Didima. There is no visible path at all between the staff accommodation and the Didima camp.
DavidE373's Avatar
DavidE373 replied to: #72587 08 Jan 2018 09:03
And bundu bash we did! WarrenM certainly knows how to make trips a little more interesting..
Richard Hunt's Avatar
Richard Hunt replied to: #72569 05 Jan 2018 17:59
@WarrenM...You can walk to Mikes Pass from Didima reception across the valley but it will be bundu bashing abit OR you can walk from Didima reception to the boom gate at the entrance and then go up the Mikes Pass road (easier but longer) Once you pass the Wildlife Staff buildings you will get onto the pass road proper. A couple of 100m past the sign which says 4x4...low gear (or something like that) you go off the pass road and connect with a well worn path that goes straight up on the left as the pass road swings to the right.

This is where you leave the pass road.......
The path which is easy to walk up connects again to the pass road at the sharp corner and from there you walk up the road until you reach the top. This path cuts out a big distance!
WarrenM's Avatar
WarrenM replied to: #72567 05 Jan 2018 09:38
Hi Tony

Thank you for all the detail.

Given the heat last weekend in the Berg, we may well be hunting for water by the time we get to the weather station after descending the organ pipes, so the note with regards to where to find water is really appreciated.
tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #72566 05 Jan 2018 08:39
There are several different 'short cuts' from Didima office/car park to Mikes Pass, and two major ones on the pass itself.

It's hard to see from Smurfs track, which one he has used from the car park, but it looks like the one I prefer, which uses the wheelchair friendly (although very overgrown) concrete path from the car park to the Ndumeni River. You then cross the river, and a path is developing up the slope from the river to join Mikes Pass road. Smurfs track uses the newer shortcut on the road, which I dislike intensely, and there is also another path when using this shortcut to cut off the hairpin bend section near Cambalala House turnoff, that is just past the Cambalala House road - clearly visible in the picture at the south of the eastern U bend - and then the path goes westwards cutting off the western hairpin bend closest to the top of Mikes Pass.

I prefer to use the old shortcut, which I believe is the one the forestry workers used years ago when walking between the bottom of Mikes Pass and their accommodation along the road to the old forests. This shortcut starts at the lower hairpin bend of Mikes Pass, visible at the bottom left of the picture, and zig zags up the ridge, and can be vaguely seen in the picture to the east of the hairpin bend, at the white cliffs of the ridge. It then heads south along the ridge, to the east of the clump of bush in the picture, and joins the old forestry road near the weather station on the way to Organ Pipes Pass, out of the bottom of the picture. When going up Mikes Pass this shortcut is very easy to find, as it starts right at the hairpin bend, and the zig zags up the ridge are clearly visible, but when coming down the pass it is not so easy to find the start of the path from the road near the weather station, and I sometimes just head down the grass slope till I find the path lower down.

The reasons I prefer this shortcut to the newer one in Smurfs picture are simple, it's a much more consistent even gradient, a lot flatter than the steep newer shortcut, and slightly shorter. There is also (usually in the wet season) water at the first drain pipe under the road near the hairpin bend, whereas the other shortcut has no water.

PM me if you want more info.
WarrenM's Avatar
WarrenM replied to: #72560 04 Jan 2018 09:01
Excellent thanks Smurf
Smurfatefrog's Avatar
Smurfatefrog replied to: #72559 04 Jan 2018 08:29
Hi Warren

Yes there is


My track between Didima and the road is not accurate (was done at night), but there is a path there that the staff use so you should find it in daylight. If you look on Google Earth you will see a clear path between the river and road
When you leave the road on the way up you exit by the first rock outcrop you encounter on your left, go around the back of it, at this spot -25.951904° 29.237764°

When descending you will pick up a path at -28.958748° 29.236859° leaving the road
You could also cut off the higher bends but I don't think this has a path
WarrenM's Avatar
WarrenM replied to: #72558 04 Jan 2018 07:40
Hi all

Compliments of the season.

We are looking to use the suggested path from Didima to the top of the Mikes pass (basically looking to skip the road and reduce the ks).

Questions:
1. is there a path from Didima to the top of Mikes pass, other than the road
2. can someone give me a vague idea as to where to look for it? and would we need to head to the start of mikes pass to pick it up, or is there a path that actually starts from Didima?
3. if we used it for the descend from the top of mikes pass, where would we pick up the path?

Thanks
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #63408 17 Apr 2015 08:30
We walked the upper part of Mike's Pass last weekend, taking the short-cut trail to bypass the big switch-back. There are no obstacles in the road, though it is quite rough in places (considering that in the mid 90's I drove my City Golf up it). It is obvious by the fresh tyre tracks that the authorities are still using the pass to get to The Neck and other places. So the pass is actually drivable if you have a vehicle with sufficient clearance, the issue being that the road has been deemed unstable and unsuitable for public use, apparently by surveyors. I must say, even the erosion scars and slippages on the slopes are looking terrible. Apparently some major upgrades have to be done which will run into the millions and budgets need approval - bottom line: doesn't seem like the pass will be opened any time soon.
Papa Dragon's Avatar
Papa Dragon replied to: #63180 25 Mar 2015 17:11

Sabine wrote: Unfortunately Mike's Pass is closed for all vehicles. No transport either. I phoned Didima hotel a couple of weeks ago for this update.

Thanks for the info Sabine
Sabine's Avatar
Sabine replied to: #63179 25 Mar 2015 17:08
Unfortunately Mike's Pass is closed for all vehicles. No transport either. I phoned Didima hotel a couple of weeks ago for this update.
Papa Dragon's Avatar
Papa Dragon replied to: #63172 24 Mar 2015 19:17
Latest on Mike's please. Open for private vehicles, or transport available?
Dillon's Avatar
Dillon replied to: #61238 03 Jul 2014 14:46
I just phoned Didima to find out the current state of the pass. After a lengthy discussion, they confirmed that it is still closed and they will not be giving any lifts up any time soon.
zwold's Avatar
zwold replied to: #60664 12 May 2014 16:07
We can confirm that the pass IS closed. We tried last weekend (4-6 May) but could not get all the way up. We were still able to get a lift as far as the Information Centre though, which is maybe a third of the way up.
jorg1975's Avatar
jorg1975 replied to: #60530 30 Apr 2014 21:54
Hi,

We were planning on getting a lift up Mike's pass tomorrow but were also told over the phone that the pass is completely closed to all traffic, so have altered our plan. Will post something on our return if we find that the situation is otherwise.
GerritHuman's Avatar
GerritHuman replied to: #60525 30 Apr 2014 13:29
Hello

They took us up Mikes pass during Easter weekend 2 weeks ago, we were a group of 14 so they took us up with a Ford Everest and an old Toyota Condor each with a trailer.
Halewyn's Avatar
Halewyn replied to: #60523 30 Apr 2014 10:32
Hi All

After my recent posts I have to unpost them all again. After being told twice in the phone that Mike's Pass was closed, we arrived on Saturday morning and I asked if they could take us up and they did! Asked why I was being told the pass was closed, they could not explain. So, we got in and got up! Mike's Pass is open for business again...
Halewyn's Avatar
Halewyn replied to: #60465 23 Apr 2014 16:51
I phoned them this morning, wanted to go on Saturday - they said they were still open over Easter, "but now it is closed. The road is too bad". 5km and 500m added to route...
john mark 1's Avatar
john mark 1 replied to: #60460 23 Apr 2014 14:36
I can second that it should be open as this past Easter Friday (18th), we tried to get a lift, but landed up hiking Mike's pass as another group had already booked the lift (and yes, the vehicle drove past us on the way, so it was open a few days ago):)
anthony's Avatar
anthony replied to: #60458 23 Apr 2014 14:21
It is open R40:00 per person for a drop off.
zwold's Avatar
zwold replied to: #60457 23 Apr 2014 13:15
Damn! Was hoping to organise a lift up next weekend...
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #60455 23 Apr 2014 11:39
Isn't there a relatively new vulture hide up there? I wonder who will be hauling up bones etc on foot!!
Josh of the Bushveld's Avatar
Josh of the Bushveld replied to: #60454 23 Apr 2014 11:35
Pity. We got a lift up (and down in horrible weather) in October 2013, made quite a big difference. The road wasn't great but not the worst I've ever seen or been on.
Halewyn's Avatar
Halewyn replied to: #60453 23 Apr 2014 11:07
Hi All. Just phoned Didima to book a lift up Mikes Pass. It has just been closed even to their own vehicles due to the bad condition. So no lifts available up there. It is 23 April 2014.
tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #57809 24 Jul 2013 17:48
Hi Yusufp,

Welcome to VE.

I think that the author of the year in the wild article is using a bit of journalist's licence, or received preferential treatment.

Mikes Pass has been open for a long time since the closure in 2011, but EKZNW no longer permits private vehicles to use Mike's Pass, not sure if that includes Mountain Club members going to Cambalala House or not.

EKZNW does, however, provide transport up and down Mikes Pass for hikers if prearranged. In June 2013 our group of 6 got a lift with EKZNW up Mike's Pass at the start of our hike for R50.00 per person. On our return we phoned Didima office, having pre arranged at our departure to do so, as soon as we had signal near the weather station and the vehicle took about half an hour to arrive at the top of Mike's Pass to give us a lift down, which cost R40.00 per person.

(Partially quoted from my related post on the 'Camel Route' topic.)