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The Dontsa Pass forms part of the R352 between the small towns of Keiskammahoek and Stutterheim. It winds through forested hillsides, dotted with several dams and cuts through Keiskammahoek where from there the road takes travellers on to Hogsback.

Distance 5.9km
Gradient average 1:17
Gradient maximum 1:8
Summit 1100m
Surface Gravel

The Pass was originally built in 1857 and lies close to the Sandile Dam on the western side, the Hogsback Mountains and the Gubu Dam further to the east. The first thing motorists should know about this gravel pass is that it is used daily by heavy duty timber trucks – the area is big on forestry – so be cautious as the road is narrow and the trucks move sometimes at alarming speeds!

Other than some very sharp corners and steep unguarded drop offs, the road is quite safe to travel. During the winter snow falls at this altitude so snow, rain and mist will make the road slippery and you may want to reconsider driving the Pass in these conditions.

That said, Dontsa Pass is one of the most scenic Passes in the area, surrounded by towering mountains and beautiful scenery. Travelling from Keiskammahoek, continue through the town toward the small village of Ndlovini, some 12 km, to reach the western starting point. Travelling from Stutterheim, head west out of the town on Hill Street for approximately 22 km to reach the eastern start of the Pass.

Dontsa Pass is not the only Pass in the area, also on the R352 is the Red Hill Pass, between Keiskammhoek and King Williams Town. If you drive the R63 from either Fort Hare or King William's Town, and head north to Stutterheim on R352, you will summit both passes!

Thing to do and see

  • Viewing Points
  • Hogsback/Amatola Mountains
  • Amatola Mountain Forest
  • Gubu dam
  • Sandile Dam
  • Xhosa King Sandile Grave


Free to Drive

Best during daylight hours

Created: ; Last updated: