Saddle Neck Pass (Bushman's Nek)

02 Jun 2014 19:43 #60950 by Smurfatefrog
This weekend three of us, including Jon Wells and myself decided to explore Saddle Neck Pass at Bushmans Nek, I'd consider it the only typical Berg pass in the area topping out at over 2800m and being surrounding by cliffs.
Its the very obvious pass between Thaba Ngwangwe and Andre's Knob


We approached the pass from the Bushmans Cave route which follows the Bushmans river valley, then climbed 2 ridges to get into the pass itself.



The turnoff from the path is just over 10km from the car park. 29°48.427'S 29°8.523'E at 2160m
Cross the Bushmans river where a tributary joins from the north, then head west/left into a narrow river gorge.
From there go directly up the the steep slope in the right of this pic towards that rock band, keep left of the rock band and continue up to the top of the ridge


This is looking back down, the top of this ridge is 29°48.195'S 29°8.279'E at 2270m


You are then faced with this view, its not as steep as it looks, just find a break in the rock band to get to the arrow at 2450m 29°47.937'S 29°8.047'E


You are now on top of this ridge which forms the south bank of the pass


With this view towards the pass

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02 Jun 2014 20:00 - 02 Jun 2014 20:01 #60951 by Smurfatefrog
From here we stuck to the south bank and slowly gained altitude until we entered the main gully



There are no major obstacles in the pass, one minor bushy section as you cross a side stream (which was dry), otherwise its just a case of making your own way up to top out at 2805m. There is also a north fork to the pass which appears to be much the same.



View back down. Its approx 4km to the top from the turnoff with an altitude gain of 650m. There was only a path right at the top of the pass, for maybe 50m.



We never saw any water on the pass, but there might have been a little in the river up to about 2500m. I would suggest filling up at the Bushmans river.

View into Lesotho, with Isicatula Pass ahead to the right


There is a path that contours around to the south at 2750m, our plan was however to camp by the kraals at 2550m, so we eventually made our way down steep slopes, in retrospect a better option would've been to follow the river down into Lesotho.

There are numerous kraals in this valley, they were abandoned for winter so we camped on some nice lawn outside a kraal.
If you're lucky you wake up to this sunrise looking towards Isicatula Pass. Total for the day was 17.5km, and a further 15.5km from the kraals down via Tomathu Pass



I assume the pass can be done by following the river the entire way from the bottom rather than entering via the south ridges, not sure if anyone has done it that way?

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Last edit: 02 Jun 2014 20:01 by Smurfatefrog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian, ghaznavid, tonymarshall, Fitness, Spykid

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