Driving through a mountain offers more than just an exhilarating sense of freedom and a beautiful view, it can also be an accident waiting to happen.
Safety must be a top priority when driving through dangerous passes. Take a look at these seven extremely dangerous passes around the Western Cape to be extra cautious on.
1. Arangieskop Mountain Road
This very steep pass is well known to many locals. There are some sections that are as steep as 1:4. This road is not recommended for inexperienced drivers or people who suffer from acrophobia.
2. Burgers Pass
Originally known as the Koo Pass in the fruit-growing region called Koo Valley, it was renamed after the town councillor, a Mr Burger, who persuaded the authorities to upgrade the road.
This pass has a combination of dangers. From long, momentum-gathering straights to very sharp corners, drive this one with a sense of vigilance.
3. Camps Bay Drive
Camps Bay Drive is known as a very tricky road where your attention is divided between the views of the coast and mountain structures, and driving your vehicle around many dangerous corners.
Some sections are as steep as 1:7 with the upper quarter being four lanes and the lower quarter being very narrow, bumpy and has many bends.
4. Hemel en Aarde Pass
The Hemel en Aarde Pass connects the coastal town of Hermanus and Caledon. The road is said to have no safety shoulders. This creates much danger for cyclists, so bear in mind that a 1.5m clearance space between your vehicle and cyclist must be observed by law.
5. Grootrivier Pass
This is a very popular pass with its twists and turns and has stunning scenery. It is known for rockslides, mud, high rainfalls, unstable slopes and baboons.
6. Chapman’s Peak
This 10km-long pass connects Hout Bay with Noordhoek in the south. You will drive through more than 80 bends, and take some sharp corners and curves. It includes massive steel catch nets where if a rock is heavy enough, can still breakthrough during a rockslide.
Many sections of unstable rockface have been reinforced with shotcrete but there are sections that will crumble down due to bad weather.
7. Cloetes Pass
This fairly long pass of 19 km takes you to Vreysrant Mountains between Herbertsdale and Van Wyksdorp. It is well maintained despite the gravel surfaces. The North section may become quite narrow, but you should not experience problems if the speed limit is adhered to.
There are half a dozen river crossings over low-level streams, which can be dangerous if the river comes down in flood. Poor decisions could be fatal. If you are not prepared to walk here, then do not drive here.
Picture: Women On Wheels gallery