Two kinds of men came together to build South Africa's scenic passes: the genius engineers and the hardy ones – often convicts or prisoners of war - who did the physical labour. Both share the glory of a well-built pass.

Did you know?

If you're travelling the Sani Pass, bring your passport - you'll be travelling into Lesotho.

South Africa's scenic passes give you great views of this country. Here you get an idea of the lay of the land and the majestic horizons in the distance.

From the winding tarred passes of Mpumalanga, taking you through timber country, to the craggy, masterfully-cut dirt passes of the Little Karoo, a mountain drive through a scenic pass in South Africa is nothing short of an excellent adventure.

The Malutis and the Drakensberg, our massive rock fortresses, are well served by passes that once were simple wagon tracks. When you hear the stories of how these pioneer wagons were disassembled, carried across the mountains piece by piece and then rebuilt on the other side, you have to give credit to the determination showed by those who passed before you.

There's a legend about every one of South Africa's scenic passes. Who designed it, who built it, what happened to the builders, the tragedies and the joys of completion. There are also many famous South African mountain pass ghost stories that add myth to these heights.

Most people think tarred passes indicate well-constructed ones. Not necessarily so. In the case of the Swartberg Pass down in the Little Karoo, for instance, Thomas Bain, the ‘Man with Theodolite Eyes', built it so well that no one has seen the need to tar it over to this day. The hang of the camber is perfect, the sights below are breathtaking and you always feel safe – the results of a masterfully cut mountain pass.

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