J G Strydom Tunnel

Situated along the R36 and forming part of the Abel Erasmus Pass is the J.G. Strydom Tunnel.

The Tunnel was opened on the 8th May 1959 along with the Pass and is considered a superb piece of engineering. It is 133 metres in length and named after the former South African Prime Minister Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom. On the day of the opening, the tunnel cornerstone was laid by the late Susan Strydom.

 The Tunnel is a tourist stop for all travelling along the Pass. The roadside is lined with vendors and crafts people selling souvenirs to tourists stopping for a look at the tunnel, Kadishi Tufa Waterfall or to take a photograph of the Olifants River below. Another, not so well known reason for stopping at the tunnel, is the resident Taita Falcons that that can be viewed from this spot.

Michael Kumako is the man that monitors these birds on a daily basis, keeping records of the birds feeding habits, movements and interactions with other species. Mike is always in the area and eager to show birdwatchers and naturalists the subjects of his daily routine through his telescope and binoculars. To find Mike, travelling from Tzaneen side you would drive through the tunnel to the small set of curio vendors on your left and from Ohrigstad you will see the small curio vendors on your right before you enter the tunnel. This is where his services become invaluable and he always appreciates a small gratuity for his time and parting of knowledge about these rare birds.

Thing to do and see

  • J.G. Strijdom Tunnel
  • Tunnel Corner Stone
  • Kadishi Tufa Waterfall (Blyde River Canyon)
  • Taita Falcons
  • Curios, Arts & Crafts


There is no charge to view the tunnel and it is recommended to travel during daylight hours.

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