A table presenting passes of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Provides information on route variations, whether the pass has a trail or not, or if it is a rock pass (Click here for a discussion on the ratings of rock passes) Also indicates of the extent to which the pass is used by the Basotho.

The table presents a list of passes in Drakensberg. The type indicates whether the pass has a trail or not, or if it is classified as a rock pass. Where applicable, indication is also made if the pass is on the Little Berg, or in special cases where the pass connects two points on the escarpment. Route variations that share the same summit point are indicated in brackets. Whether the pass is used by the Basotho or not is of relevance to hikers, and these details are also presented as accurately as possible.

GPS data can be downloaded in GPX format in the Drakensberg Passes downloads section. Each pass had an associated download containing the tracks and relevant waypoints. The summit waypoints for all passes are also collected together in this download.

Please revisit this page routinely for updates as this is a work in progress. Note also that we are working on new features which will allow us to present the passes with all relevant details, GPS data and pictures in a much better way.

Pass Region Type
Basotho
use
Photo
Metjhatijhane Ridge Qwa Qwa trail major  
Dagga Nek Pass * Qwa Qwa trail no  
Namahadi Corner Pass Qwa Qwa no trail no  
Lammergeyer Pass * Qwa Qwa no trail no  
Fallen Boot Pass * Qwa Qwa no trail no  
Trident Pass * Qwa Qwa no trail no  
Namahadi Pass Qwa Qwa trail major  
Barricade Pass * Qwa Qwa trail major  
Chain Ladders
Qwa Qwa /
RNNP
trail yes Chain Ladder Pass
Beacon Buttress Gully
Qwa Qwa /
RNNP
trail unlikely Sentinel Gulley
Sentinel Gully
Qwa Qwa /
RNNP
no trail no  
Gudu Pass RNNP
trail
(Little Berg)
no  
Inner Tower Gully, Western/RNNP Approach RNNP
rock
(technical)
no  
Ifidi Pass Mnweni rock minor  
Icidi Pass Mnweni no trail minor  
Mbundini Pass Mnweni no trail unlikely  
Madonna Pass Mnweni no trail no  
Fangs Pass Mnweni no trail unlikely  
Tata Ma Chance Pass * Mnweni no trail unlikely  
Rwanqa Pass Mnweni no trail minor  
Pins Pass Mnweni no trail no  
Manxome Pass * Mnweni no trail no  
Hanging Valleys Pass * Mnweni no trail no  
Mnweni Buttress Pass * Mnweni no trail no  
Mnweni Pass Mnweni trail major Mnweni Pass
Ledgers Pass * Mnweni no trail unlikely  
Mponjwane Pass * Mnweni no trail no  
Mnweni Needles Pass * Mnweni no trail probably  
Rockeries Pass Mnweni trail major Rockeries Pass
Nguza Pass Mnweni rock no  

South Saddle Pass *

Mnweni no trail no  
Ntonjelana Pass North* Mnweni no trail unlikely  
Ntonjelana Pass
Mnweni /
Cathedral Peak
trail major Ntonjelana Pass
Christmas Pass *
Mnweni /
Cathedral Peak
no trail no  
Twins pass *
Mnweni /
Cathedral Peak
no trail unlikely  
Mlambonja Pass (Bell Traverse) Cathedral Peak trail yes  
Mlambonja Pass (Gully) Cathedral Peak trail yes  
Mlambonja Buttress South * Cathedral Peak no trail no  
Xeni Pass Cathedral Peak rock no Xeni Pass
Elephant Gully Cathedral Peak
trail
(escarpment)
yes  
Cockade Pass Cathedral Peak rock minor  
Cockade Pass - Southern Variation Cathedral Peak no trail unlikely  
False Tseketseke Pass * Cathedral Peak no trail no  
Tseketseke Pass Cathedral Peak trail unlikely  
Tseketseke Pass - South Variation Cathedral Peak vague track possibly  
Organ Pipes Pass (Camel) Cathedral Peak trail major  
Organ Pipes Pass (Thuthumi Ridge) Cathedral Peak trail major  
Thuthumi Pass Cathedral Peak trail major  
Smuggler's Pass * Cathedral Peak trail major  
Didima Pass * Cathedral Peak no trail unlikely  
Mike's Pass Cathedral Peak
road
(Little Berg)
yes  
Tlanyaku Pass Cathedral Peak trail major  
Gray's Pass Monk's Cowl trail major Grays Pass
Cowl Pass *

Monk's Cowl

no trail
/ rock
no Monks Cowl
Keartland's Pass

Monk's Cowl

trail
(Little Berg)
   
Cathkin Mountain Pass Monk's Cowl rock no Ships Prow Pass
Ship's Prow Pass Monk's Cowl no trail minor Ships Prow
van Heyningen's Pass Injasuthi
trail
(Little Berg)
   
Old Woman Pass * Injasuthi no trail unlikely Injasuthi views
Ape Pass (gov survey version) Injasuti trail unlikely  
Leslie's Pass Injasuthi trail unlikely  
Injisuthi Pass Injasuthi
rock
(technical)
no Injasuthi Pass
Hilton Pass Injasuthi
rock
(technical)
no Hilton Pass
Corner Pass (Northern High Approach)* Injasuti rock yes  
Corner Pass (gully) Injasuthi rock unlikely Corner Pass
Around the Corner Pass * Injasuti trail yes  
Judge Pass Injasuthi trail yes Judge Pass
Gypaetus Pass * Giant's Castle no trail no  
Bannerman Pass Giant's Castle trail yes Bannermans Pass
Thumb Pass *

Giant's Castle

no trail

unlikely

The Thumb
Hlubi Pass (North) *

Giant's Castle

no trail

unlikely

Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Hlubi Pass (South) *

Giant's Castle

no trail

unlikely

Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Langalibalele Pass Giant's Castle trail major Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Bond Pass * Giant's Castle no trail no  
Jarateng Pass North * Giant's Castle no trail unlikely  
Jarateng Pass Middle Giant's Castle no trail unlikely  
Jarateng Pass South * Giant's Castle no trail unlikely  
Katana Pass * Giant's Castle no trail unlikely  
Giant's Castle Pass Giant's Castle trail yes  
Giants Castle Eastern Gully Giant's Castle
rock
(technical)
no  
Elandshoek Pass * Giant's Castle trail yes  
Taylor's Pass Lotheni
trail
(Little Berg)
   
Lotheni Pass North Fork Lotheni rock no Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass
Lotheni Pass South Fork
(gully access) *
Lotheni no trail minor

Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass

(main access) *
Lotheni trail yes

Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass

eNtubeni Pass Lotheni no trail unlikely  
Uklebe Pass * Lotheni ? ?  
Ka Masihlenga Pass Lotheni no trail unlikely ka Masihlenga Pass
Redi Pass Lotheni rock unlikely  
Buttress Pass - The Passage Lotheni no trail unlikely Buttress pass (The passage)
Hlatimba Pass North Lotheni no trail unlikely Hlatimba Pass
Hlatimba Pass South Lotheni trail major Hlatimbe pass - South

Mlahlangubo Pass (Hlatimba Valley) *

Vergelegen trail yes  
Mlahlangubo Pass (gully) Vergelegen no trail minor  
Ngaqamadolo Pass North Vergelegen no trail unlikely  
Ngaqamadolo Pass South Vergelegen no trail unlikely  
Mkhomazi Pass Vergelegen trail major  
Mohlesi Pass Vergelegen rock no  
Nhlangeni Pass Vergelegen no trail unlikely Nhlangeni Pass
ka-Ntuba Pass Vergelegen no trail minor kaNtuba Pass
Twin Peak Pass * Vergelegen trail yes  
Mangaun Pass Vergelegen no trail no  
Ntshintshini Pass Vergelegen no trail ?  
Mqatsheni Pass Vergelegen no trail unlikely  
Phinong Pass Vergelegen trail ?  
Sani Pass Cobham road major  
Masubasuba Pass Cobham trail major  
Amakehla Pass (Lake's Cave) * Cobham trail major  

Amakehla Pass (Ridge) *

Cobham

no trail unlikely Giants Cup - Amakehle
Amakehla Pass (Pholela Cave) Cobham no trail unlikely Giants Cup - Amakehle
Minaret Pass Cobham no trail unlikely  
Pitsaneng Pass North  Cobham no trail unlikely  
Pitsaneng Pass South Cobham no trail ?  
Stones Pass North Cobham no trail yes  
Stones Pass South Cobham no trail ?  
Sandleni Pass * Cobham no trail ?  
Mzimkhulu Pass North Garden Castle trail yes  
Mzimkhulu Pass Middle Garden Castle rock unlikely  
Mzimkhulu Pass South Garden Castle no trail minor  
Verkyker Pass Garden Castle trail minor  
Rhino Pass Garden Castle no trail unlikely  
Mashai Pass Garden Castle trail minor Mashai Pass
Mlambonja Coulior Garden Castle no trail no  
Wilson's Pass Garden Castle no trail unlikely Bollard Pass
Bollard Pass * Garden Castle no trail no Bollard Pass
Tsepeng Pass Garden Castle no trail unlikely Tsepeng Pass
Mzimude Pass North Garden Castle no trail ?  
Mzimude Pass South Garden Castle no trail yes  
Walker's Pass (Mzimude Route) Garden Castle no trail ?  
Walker's Pass (Ridge Route) Garden Castle no trail ?  
Walker's Pass (South Gully Route) Garden Castle no trail ?  
Corncob Pass (Walker's Gully Pass) Garden Castle no trail ?  
Isicatula Pass Bushman's Neck
no trail
(escarpment)
yes  
Saddle Neck Pass Bushman's Neck no trail minor  
Ngwangwe Pass Bushman's Neck no trail ?  
Ngwangwane Pass Bushman's Neck no trail minor  
Thamathu Pass Bushman's Neck trail major  
Lammergeier Pass * Bushman's Neck no trail minor  
Knuckles Traverse Pass * Bushman's Neck trail yes Sehlabathebe
Knuckles Pass North* Bushman's Neck no trail possibly Sehlabathebe
Knuckles Pass - Middle Knuckle, South Gully Bushman's Neck no trail unlikely Sehlabathebe
Knuckles Pass South * Bushman's Neck no trail unlikely Sehlabathebe
Tarn Cave Pass * Bushman's Neck no trail possibly Sehlabathebe
Bushman's Nek Pass Bushman's Neck trail yes  
* Passes which are marked with an asterisk indicate one of the following:
- route variation not indicated on hiking maps
- only indicated on survey maps or Slingsby's maps
- undocumented passes named by hikers

Key to the use of the passes by Basotho

Basotho here can refer to herdsmen, smugglers, rustlers and those entering South Africa for legitimate reasons such as social visits, shopping and work.
Major: heavy use - known to be major routes from reports and observations
Yes: regular use, Basotho can be observed using the pass or signs indicate regular use (litter, erosion etc.)
Minor: cases where signs or reports indicate that the pass is used on occasion but not regularly enough (no established trail and no strong signs of regular use)
Possibly: unconfirmed reports that the pass is being used
Unlikely: no clear signs observed but where a possibility still exists
No: very unlikely (but not totally impossible), typically because of the technical difficulty of the pass
?: current status not known.
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intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #61705 04 Sep 2014 14:16
List has been updated. I might try and improve on the layout after the site upgrade. A similar list of caves would also be nice. Both lists take quite a bit of time to set up and maintain, so we will see how it goes.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #61683 03 Sep 2014 14:54

intrepid wrote: I'll add these and see what else can be done to improve this list - provided we can keep outdated website software, cable cars and pine trees at bay. :)


Roughly what I was thinking when I posted - as if you need additional work put on your plate. I don't think there's any kind of a rush for this to be done, just one for the future...
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #61682 03 Sep 2014 14:51
I'll add these and see what else can be done to improve this list - provided we can keep outdated website software, cable cars and pine trees at bay. :)
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #61676 03 Sep 2014 10:36
Just looking over the list - the following passes are missing:
- Gypaetus
- Bond
- The 2 middle Knuckles Passes (i.e. there is one north of the north Knuckle, one between each of the Knuckles and one south of the South Knuckle, 4 in total).

Also, isn't there an alternative Cockade Pass gully? Mzimude Pass can arguably be split into 4 passes, 3 south gullies and the north pass (although this raises the highly subjective question of when an alternative pass top constitutes a different pass).
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #59008 10 Nov 2013 13:24
Ghaz it seems your enthusiasm is not shared by all! :lol:
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #59005 10 Nov 2013 11:29

BobbyStanton wrote: I think you should concentrate on getting a comprehensive list of passes together before asking this question. I don't see Elandshoek, Masubasuba, Amakhela or Minaret, and I haven't given it much thought yet. Are you just not adding these because you have heard they have been done?


If you have a look at the attachment sheet 1 you'll see a list of 114 passes. If any are missing please let me know. It's full of funny passes like Uklebe etc.

The list posted was purely a list of passes that I am not 100% sure of VE members having not done - e.g. I knew you had done Elandshoek, so I excluded it. I know Hobbit has done Masubabsuba, I believe ST and Stijn have both done Amakhela and Minaret etc.
BobbyStanton's Avatar
BobbyStanton replied to: #59003 10 Nov 2013 10:36
I think you should concentrate on getting a comprehensive list of passes together before asking this question. I don't see Elandshoek, Masubasuba, Amakhela or Minaret, and I haven't given it much thought yet. Are you just not adding these because you have heard they have been done? I have done Redi, Elandshoek, Ntubeni, Mkhomazi, Masubasuba, Pitsaneng South, Stones South and Verkyker, and Dagga Nek, the most northern pass in the Berg, as well as many others not listed.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #59002 10 Nov 2013 07:54

Stijn wrote: And what is Tarn Cave Pass? If it's the path up to Tarn Cave, then we did that on the same trip.

That's the one.

Stijn wrote: And my wife along with a UCT MSC group came down Nhlangeni Pass in 2005. Don't think any of them are members of this site though, if you're being particular about that point.

That is a pass I really need to set out and do - looks awesome (see www.berg.co.za/images/Passes/Nhlangeni%20Pass02.jpg ). The reason why its specifically people on this site that I am looking at is that I'm sure every pass on the list has been done by somebody at some time.

Stijn wrote: Hoping to tick off Nguza and Pins later this month, which will put me at having done all marked passes from Chain Ladder down to Gray's Pass. Ship's Prow North Fork is the next one I still have to do. Then it gets tricky with Injisuthi and Hilton! I suspect Intrepid's (and others) ticked continuous marked pass list extends a lot further South than that...

Nice! I just need Corner Pass to tick off all the marked passes at Giant's - exactly the same problem with extending north from there! I'm up to 8 passes at Giant's, just need 2 more Jarding's, Thumb and Corner to complete the current VE list there - then I have 6 other possible new passes to check out in the area.

Interesting that only 5 passes out of 52 north of Giant's are currently not marked off, yet of the 63 south of there there is quite a substantial list.
Stijn's Avatar
Stijn replied to: #59001 10 Nov 2013 07:26
I've done Knuckles Pass South with Andrew (the one which summits just South of the Southern-most Knuckle). And what is Tarn Cave Pass? If it's the path up to Tarn Cave, then we did that on the same trip.

And my wife along with a UCT MSC group came down Nhlangeni Pass in 2005. Don't think any of them are members of this site though, if you're being particular about that point.

Hoping to tick off Nguza and Pins later this month, which will put me at having done all marked passes from Chain Ladder down to Gray's Pass. Ship's Prow North Fork is the next one I still have to do. Then it gets tricky with Injisuthi and Hilton! I suspect Intrepid's (and others) ticked continuous marked pass list extends a lot further South than that...
tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #58999 09 Nov 2013 17:43
I've done Mkhomazi Pass several times, it used to be the MBC GT qualifier hike and standard route to summit Thabana Ntlenyana.

I haven't done Redi Pass myself, but know a lot of people who have, among them John (Pickup) and Christine.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58994 08 Nov 2013 20:53
I'm wondering if between the 1200+ VE members there is a pass that no one on this site has done. My pass list shows 114 passes between Namahadi and Bushman's Nek (yes I know I am missing some Free State and Eastern Cape passes).

I have eliminated the ones that I know certain VE members have done - e.g. TonyMarshal and Intrepid have done all the Mnweni Passes, I know Stijn has done Xeni, there is a writeup on the site about Hilton Pass etc. Most of what is left is stuff at Vergelegen and south from there - not implying that no one here has done them, just that I am not sure.

I think it would be interesting to find if there is a pass that no one on the site has done, so here is a list of candidates - if you have done one (or many) of them, reply with the ones you have done. My predictions for likely candidates would be Inner Tower Gully, Uklebe Pass and Dyke's Pass...

Inner Tower Gully
Ape's Pass
Jarateng Pass North
Jarateng Pass South
Giant's Castle Eastern Gully
Lotheni Pass North Fork
Lotheni Pass South Fork (main access)
Ntubeni Pass
Uklebe Pass
Redi Pass
Mlahlangubo Pass (Hlatimba Valley)
Mlahlangubo Pass (gully)
Ngaqamadolo Pass North
Ngaqamadolo Pass South
Dyke Pass
Mkhomazi Pass
Mohlesi Pass
Nhlangeni Pass
Twin Peak Pass
Mangaun Pass
Ntshintshini Pass
Mqatesheni Pass
Phinong Pass
Pitsaneng Pass North
Pitsaneng Pass South
Stones Pass North
Stones Pass South
Sandleni Pass
Mzimkhulu Pass Central
Verkyker Pass
Mzimude Pass (North Fissure Pass)
Walker's Pass
Saddle Nek Pass
Lammergeier Pass
Knuckles Traverse Pass
Knuckles Pass North
Knuckles Pass Upper Middle
Knuckles Pass Lower Middle
Knuckles Pass South
Tarn Cave Pass
Jonathan's Gate Pass

Ps. my pass list is attached - and Jonathan's Gate was a name referred to by Dave Gay, it was not named by me :silly:
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #56081 21 Feb 2013 07:38
Ok - so the list seems to be very out of date again! Hlubi Pass needs to be split into north and south and Gypaetus Pass needs to be added...

I think its pretty cool that this list keeps getting longer, says something about the ruggedness of the Berg :thumbsup:

Just for reference purposes:

North Hlubi's summit gully from Thumb Spur looks like this:


The pass then takes a sharp turn around a corner, this is from about 30m down the pass looking back at the top (the summit gully is off to the left):
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #54229 06 Jun 2012 10:04
Right, I have added Hlubi to the list. I see it's time for a routine update to this list since more links and pics can be added. At some point I will expand this table with more detail and links too.

As for Rhino Pass, it is in a gully and bit scrambly here and there but straightforward. We did it with some ice build up even. I agree that in the thick of winter, and after a flood, it would be more of a challenge.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #54222 05 Jun 2012 13:20
Thanks, thats one old question you are responding to! :thumbsup:
Selous's Avatar
Selous replied to: #54221 05 Jun 2012 13:02
I have heard that Rhino Pass is not to difficult to do, but two points to note on the pass:
1) there was a major storm in the Garden Castle area in Jan/Feb of 2011 and washed the steam clear. It is now just a boulder bed. Any paths close to the stream would have been washed away. This is very noticeable if you look left from Rhino Peak. So just watch the stability of the rocks especially as you get up higher and you have people behind you.
2)In winter especially after snow there is a big ice band at the top of the pass going down (Not sure how far down) you would need some appropriate gear to get up that.

Hope that helps a little bit.

Regards
Selous
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #54208 04 Jun 2012 17:56
The list should be updated to include Hlubi Pass... :)
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2816 06 May 2011 13:11
Right, the list of passes has been updated, added to and polished up a bit. One major improvement you will notice is that the names of the passes, where applicable, are now links to more info, typically a write-up on the blogs or a detailed forum discussion. So that this page is easier to find, a link to it has been added as a menu item at the bottom of each page on this site. Be sure to check out the associated GPS data too, as several passes have been added.
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2759 23 Apr 2011 16:29
Redi has a short, scrambly bit where you may want some rope to haul your packs up. Apparently not that bad. Rest is steep grass. Lotheni North Fork (the one indicated on the map) does have a nasty waterfall section. Lotheni South Fork (which should have been indicated on the map) is straightforward, just steep grass slopes. Rhino Pass apparently just a little scrambly - will confirm in a week B)
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #2758 23 Apr 2011 06:48
There are some passes I have seen which look interesting, but the description as "rock" has put me off them in the pass, has anyone done Redi, Lotheni or Rhino pass and if so, what are these passes like, are ropes required, are there any waterfalls to climb?
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2756 21 Apr 2011 10:34
A grade D is part of a purely technical grading system indicating how difficult the actual moves on the rock are. It gives no indication of exposure, rock condition etc. C+ to D in the Berg is normally where you have to start roping up and use climbing gear, but not as a hard and fast rule. Cathedral Peak is C (without the ladder maybe a C+ or slightly harder). The first pitch on the standard route on the Sentinel, which you can see from the trail, is a D. This is an older grading system which is still used in the Berg. D in the new system is grade 8-9. See tables at the bottom of these pages:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_%28climbing%29
peakhigh.co.za/climbing/rock-grade-comaprison/

The "D" on Injasuthi Pass is straightforward and has no scary exposure, but this kind of thing is very subjective and depends on the person. If you fell you would injure yourself however.
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat replied to: #2752 21 Apr 2011 05:45
That D -grade climb on Injasuthi looks quite managable, though I'm not a climber :(

Sorry for asking such a "noob" question , but how does climbing gradings 'work'? How tough is D- grade exactly? Or is it also a 'relative' rating, since you did it with packs?

thanx

J
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #2751 20 Apr 2011 07:42
The only 2 websites on the net that I have found to be useful for the Berg are this one and www.berg.co.za , the latter has gradings and conditions of paths, also lots of pics of most passes (including Rhino pass, Mzimude pass, and pretty much every pass I have ever considered using other than Judge pass) and garmin tracks for some of the passes as well as the gps coordinates of most of the tops of passes and caves. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drakensberg_hiking also has some useful gps coordinates (passes, peaks etc).
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2749 20 Apr 2011 07:18
All in good time! There is a corresponding page with GPS waypoints and elevation. There is a lot more I'd love to put into this, but I have to be careful of spending more time working on this site than I do in the mountains (oh..and I nearly forgot my day job) :). The next step is to make the pass name a link to Stijn's pass write-ups.

I purposefully have not attempted my own rating system yet. This can be very subjective, takes time, and has to be done with care since others make decisions based on it. Very roughly though, "trail" mostly indicates easy to moderate, "no trail" is easy to difficult, and "rock" is difficult to technical. Howz that? :cheer:

Anyone that wants to contribute or add their own page, please go for it! Serious tribe has just sent me some pics of passes to add - thanks for that!

And then I'd love to do something similar for caves, and extend what I've started on peaks... let me get back to my own work though!
JonWells's Avatar
JonWells replied to: #2748 20 Apr 2011 07:03
Nice summary, would be handy to have other info like gps co-ordinates, elevation, nearest access point (car)and maybe some indicator of difficulty, perhaps a rating system, ooh ooh and a comments section under each pass which will have recent info about path condition, water availability, Basutho sitings from other memebers etc etc. Ok, ok, maybe I'm getting carried away :lol: