1. Mount Currie Nature Reserve, Naude's Nek Pass and Karnmelkspruit River Camp. April 2021.
This was our first trip with our van since August 2019. We were impressed by how well it had kept over all that time and that the items that we'd left inside were still fine.
Our initial idea was to spend 10 days driving anticlockwise around Lesotho however we ended cutting the trip short as the weather forecast was awful.
Blue line: Richmond --> Ncwadi --> Underberg --> Mount Currie --> Naude's Nek Pass --> Rhodes --> Karnmelkspruit.
Green line: Back to Richmond via Elliott, Maclear and Mount Fletcher.
On the gravel road to Ncwadi - it was great to be out on the road again.
Our lunch stop just outside Underberg with the Drakensberg Mountains as a backdrop.
As we approached Kokstad we could see Mount Currie in the distance - it's the mountains on the left of the photo. The cmpsite is on the other side of the mountain.
We have used this campsite before on a few occassions. It's an Enzemvelo KZN Wildlife Reserve in a location is lovely. The ablutions were clean with hot water though rather run down. After good rains over the summer the dam was full. We spent a couple of lovely sunny days there but it got very cold as soon as the sun went down - we were glad that there was 240v electric and that we had a fan heater in the van.
The dam with Mount Currie behind.
Several of the sites overlook the dam and have good shade.
Full moon rising.
As usual we saw zebra at the campsite.
We saw several of these large crickets during a walk.
From Mount Currie we drove back through Kokstad and then into The Eastern Cape travelling east and south through Matatiele and Mount Fletcher. About 10 km south of Mount Fletcher is a small turn off which takes you on a gravel road over 3 passes to Rhodes.
The Passes are: (information from Mountain Passes of South Africa)
Lusi Poort. This road winds it's way along the valley carved out by the Luzi River. At 14,8 km it's a fairly long poort and is peppered with sharp bends as well as several unbriged river crossings via concreted drifts. (Note: A poort is another word for a pass).
Pitseng Pass. The pass is 8 kilometres in length and there is a height gain / loss of 368 metres. The highest point is 1900m.
Naude's Nek Pass. This is a long pass at just over 32km. It is the fourth highest publicly accessible pass in South Africa and is 2500m at its highest point. It is regarded as one of the top iconic gravel road passes and is full of hairpin bends and fantastic views. Naude's Nek Pass is a testament to the character and determination of the enterprising farmers who built an outstanding mountain pass on a paltry budget using very basic equipment.
We had fantastic clear skies throughout the day and great views, however towards the top of Naude's Nek Pass the wind became so strong that we didn't dare open our doors so I just took photos out of the window!
Following the left bank of the Lusi River.
A striking rock formation in the distance.
There are occassional farms along the route.
Pitseng Police post.
Looking back to the Lusi valley from Pitseng Pass.
We encountered a large herd of cows along the track.
Naude's Nek Pass ahead.
Looking back down the Pass before the wind got too strong.
From Rhodes we drove West to Karnmelspruit RIver Resort which is in quite a narrow gorge next to the river. On the second day the weather turned wet and windy in the afternoon and with the forecast of strong wind and rain for the next few days we headed back to RIchmond the following day.
The river next to the campsite.
Warmer than at Mount Currie so, the first evening, we were able to sit outside.
Last updated: October 2021