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The Karatara Pass is situated between the towns of George and Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The Pass is the fifth Pass on the 7 Passes Road and closer to the Knysna end, just before the Homtini Pass and Phantom Pass. All the Passes along the route have been declared national monuments. The 7 Passes Road was constructed back in the 1880’s and for 70 years was the only road between George and Knysna until the N2 through the Wilderness replaced it with a faster option.

Distance 2,62km
Gradient average 1:41
Gradient maximum 1:6
Elevation bridge 175m
Surface Gravel

The Pass starts close to the little village of Karatara, perched quietly atop the plateau just north of Sedgefield. The small village was formed after the woodcutters’ 1939 dispossession when, without notice, the government withdrew their woodcutting permits and pensioned off the suddenly jobless and homeless woodcutters to this remote settlement. Both village and Pass received their name from the Karatara River found high up in the mountains.

The Pass is a narrow, gravel road only 3 km long, taking only 5 minutes to drive. The Pass may be short, but it drops 90 meters in altitude down to the Karatara River Valley, were it crosses the river on a bridge similar to that of the bridge on the Hoogekraal Pass.

The route is suitable for most vehicles and has a speed limit of 60 km/hr. There are sharp twists and turns and parts of the road are corrugated, pot-holed and water-logged. “Slippery when wet” applies in this rainy region. Cyclists frequent the Pass so be sure to travel the speed limit and keep a lookout for them and small animals.

Thing to do and see

  • Karatara Village
  • Karatara River & Valley
  • Karatara Bridge
  • Small Antelope & Baboons


There is no charge to travel along the pass and it is recommended that visitors to the Pass travel during daylight hours.


Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 28˚C with high rainfall in October.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C with the lowest rainfall in June.


Commercial Airlines offer flights into George Airport. The N2 highway will take you into the Knysna, approximately a one hour drive. Car hire facilities are located at the Airports. 

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