Port Elizabeth - Get off-the-beaten-track in the Eastern Cape and explore the R396 to Naude’s Nek Pass.

This convoluted pass intersects the escarpment approximately where the Maloti, Drakensberg and Wattenberg mountains meet. As one of the highest and well known dirt roads for adventurists, the king of the passes is high on South Africa’s Best Roads favourites list.

There’s something liberating about venturing the gradual slopes of Naude’s Nek. If adventure is the name of your game, then there is no better way to forget the crowds and get lost in all the adrenaline that comes with it.

Not only is the road long and sweeping, a drive on this Avis Driving Ratio(ADR) rated road presents some of the tightest and sharpest bends encountered on any gravel road, locally. Opening up on 76 kilometres of mega pass and a summit of about 2.920 meters above sea level, Naude’s Nek has the most magnificent views imaginable.

Driving this road is an adventure of note, where you get to experience the best of the Eastern Cape’s scenery while making your way through quaint little towns such as the vibrant Smithfiled and the tragic town of Barkly East. From Barkley East, all you have ahead of you is sand all the way to a little town called Rhodes.

Due to the nature and conditions of this road, drivers are advised to conquer it with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Even in the most rugged of 4X4, the road presents something of a challenge, particularly in bad weather conditions which makes the road slippery and at times impassable.

Adapted from a press release for IOL

* Explore South Africa’s Best Roads to Drive on www.avisbestroads.co.za.