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Van Stadens Pass lies along the R102 between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay, close to the little community of Thornhill. It is named after the first person, a farmer in the area, to plot out a route through the River Gorge, Marthinus van Staden. In 1867 the Pass was rebuilt to more acceptable standards.

Distance 4.3 km
Gradient average 1:31
Gradient maximum 1:10
Elevation Bridge 89m
Surface Tar

The Pass was upgraded and maintained as needed over the years and even became a tarred Pass in 1950. It was only after the N2 was built that the road became quieter and less travelled especially by those travellers who were in a hurry. An impressive new bridge was built over the gorge, other bridges along the N2 such as the Storms River, Bloukrans and Groot Rivier, received similar attention.

The old Van Stadens Pass still holds its charm so if you are not in a hurry, we suggest taking the road less travelled and enjoy a more scenic drive to your destination. The Van Staden turnoff from the N2 lies approximately 40 km from Port Elizabeth and if driving from the west, approximately 50 km from Humansdorp.

Van Stadens Pass is an easy drive with 20 bends, curves and corners with very few straight sections. At the old bridge there is place to park, even some picnic facilities, where you can get great views of the old bridge, the beautiful river gorge and the towering new Van Stadens Bridge. Unfortunately, only 12 days after the bridge opened it claimed its first suicide victim. One suicide followed another and soon it became known as “Bridge of Death”. Statistics show that by the end of 2012, 87 people lost their lives by jumping off the Van Staden Bridge.

“The new bridge has gathered a maccabre attraction of unhappy and depressed souls. Rescuers have spoken of a 'chill in the air' - this gloomy reputation has somewhat overpowered the grandeur of the old pass.”

Things to do and see

  • Van Stadens Bridge
  • Old Van Stadens Bridge
  • Picnic Site
  • View Points
  • Van Stadens Pass Nature Reserve


Free to Drive

Best during daylight hours

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