Katberg V1 Tour 2024
(3rd to 8th June, 2024)

R 15,777

for 1 vehicle – 2 persons

(more price options below)

3rd to 8th of June 2024

Our 2024 inaugural Katberg 4×4 Tour has been planned to offer a complete experience of nature, relaxation, easy and technical driving and some of the best sights you will see in the Eastern Cape escarpment zone.

You can expect excellent game viewing, a drive through a disused train tunnel, a drive down the very remote Tarka Pass, an overnight stop in Bedford and the real highlights all happen during the last three days of the tour, where we will drive the Katberg and other amazing passes in the Hogsback area. We book overnight stays in quality accommodation (invoiced out separately).

You will get to enjoy 6 nights and 5 thrilling days, discovering the very best this breath-taking region has to offer!
Join us on this guided, self-drive adventure, driving to beautiful places off the beaten track, in the camaraderie and safety of like-minded explorers, under the expert guidance of Trygve Roberts.

  • You do not need to be experienced in off-road driving to do this tour. We will show you how.
  • We can take 4×4 vehicles on this tour with low range. Maximum 12 vehicles. High clearance vehicles are recommended.

More info below.

First select only the number of adults in your vehicle, to calculate your tour price:

Number of children under 18
Product total
Options total
Grand total

This tour will start at the Mountain Zebra National Park and end at the Katberg Golf Estate and Hotel near Balfour.

The routes we have chosen are generally not difficult, and can be managed by any 4×4 vehicle with low range capability. The routes range from good tar to serviceable gravel roads as well as several two spoor track sections ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 3. (Please note that no pets are allowed.)


Key Details

  • Distance: 770 km.
  • Drivers’ Briefing, VHF Radio Fitment & Welcoming Party: From 16.00 on Monday, 3rd June, 2024 at Mountain Zebra National Park.
  • Start MZNP – 08h30: Tuesday, 4th June, 2024
  • Closing Function & Prize-giving: Katberg Hotel, from 18h00 Saturday, 8th June, 2024
  • End of Tour/Departure: 09h00 –Sunday, 9th June, 2024

All vehicles will be supplied with FM marine-quality two-way radios so we can all communicate. (This is included in the tour price.)

Scroll down for Itinerary, Pricing Info & Cancellation Policy


4×4 Tour Itinerary

Monday 3rd June 2024
Mountain Zebra National Park

The group meets up at the restaurant at the main reception re of the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) between 14.00 and 16.00 when we fit your two way radio and magnetic aerial, deflate tyres for gravel travel and at 18.00 have our meet & greet session where the finer details of the tour will be explained, indemnity forms signed, distribution of personal folders with notes, convoy driving order sheets, name tags and maps as well as a Q&A session. We enjoy a hearty dinner and a good night’s rest in preparation for the next day.

Chalets at Mountain Zebra
Chalets at Mountain Zebra / Photo: Sanparks

Accommodation is in the form of stand-alone chalets with views over the plains and mountains of the Karoo. These are self-catering units. Dinner will be taken in the restaurant. Breakfast is in your own chalet. Take along whatever you need. The chalets are equipped with fridges, stoves, fireplaces and air cons plus braai facilities.

Tuesday 4th June – 50 / 80 km
Mountain Zebra National Park / Umngeni 4×4 Route/ Free Exploring

08h30 After breakfast we run a radio check to ensure everyone has comms and then we take to the road. Our route heads north to drive one of the 4×4 routes within the park – the Umngeni Loop. Game viewing on the 4×4 routes is excellent and we will be guaranteed good sightings in between the technical driving and fun. On the way back to reception, we will descend an impressive little pass with multiple hairpins.

Mountain Passes South Africa 4x4 tour lead
The MPSA Jimny on the 4×4 route / Photo: Trygve Roberts

Lions and other predators have been introduced into the park. The chalets, reception and restaurant are all protected by an electric fence. During your exploration of the rest of the park, please make sure it is safe to get out of our vehicle to take photos.

Mother and foal at MZNP
Mother and foal at MZNP / Photo: Trygve Roberts

Most of the game viewing roads in the reserve are good quality gravel. The afternoon is yours to explore the reserve as you wish. We meet up again in the restaurant for dinner and briefing of the next day’s activities and routing

Wednesday 5th June: 225 km
Cradock – Egg Rock – Tarka Pass – Old Tunnel – Waainek Pass – Bedford

Depart 0830 after breakfast. We check out of MZNP and drive through Cradock, which will be our first refueling option. Our first stop is about 8 km north east of Cradock at the remarkable Egg Rock. This massive egg shaped rock stands 10m tall and has an estimated mass of 488 tons. It is perched what appears to be precariously on a rock ledge. In 1937 a lightning strike split off a section of the rock on the southern side.

Egg Rock / Photo: Afrika op sy beste/Press Reader.com

We head south through verdant farms along the banks of the Great Fish River, which supplies a lifeline of water and sustainable farming for this arid region. Our route passes through a small settlement called Mortimer, then continues towards the first mountain range to tackle the Tarka Pass. Very few people have driven this pass from end to end. The pass services multiple farms and starts off being in good condition. There are many farm gates to open and close as the valley gets hemmed in by the mountains and the road quality deteriorates markedly to a Grade 2 to 3 off-road grading the further south we go. Don’t worry, the MPSA Jimny (which is factory standard) made it without any problems.

The old rail tunnel south of Cradock
Satellite image showing the location of the old tunnel / Photo: Google Earth

At the southern end of the Tarka Pass, we will head east and back to the Great Fish River to drive a most unusual feature in South Africa – a road tunnel. The tunnel cuts straight through a small hill and is 300m long.
Our route goes back into the south to access the impressive Waainek Pass – a big gravel pass with knock-out views over the valley near Somerset East.

Green valleys and blue mountains to soothe the soul
Green valleys and blue mountains to soothe the soul / Photo: Trygve Roberts

We continue on through Cookhouse (where refueling is available) on tar and arrive at out overnight venue in the village of Bedford – The Duke of Bedford, which is a smart venue with excellent amenities, but in June only the hardiest will take a swim.

Duke of Bedford Boutique Hotel
Duke of Bedford Boutique Hotel

Thursday 6th June: 175 km

De Beers Pass, Post Retief, De Waalskloof, Devils Bellows, Katberg Pass

After a leisurely breakfast, the day begins with a climb up the escarpment via De Beers Pass, then switches direction into the east via a very scenic pastoral farm route via Brown’s Vale and Post Retief. De Waalskloof Pass is similar to the Tarka Pass in that it starts off as good gravel road but deteriorates after the last farm has been traversed. The final 5 km is an attractive but slow, bumpy drive to reach the summit. It often snows here. Maybe we will be lucky and have a snow drive – it’s not something we experience often on our tours. If the weather is clear, we will take a short drive northwards along the contour line to view the so called “Devil’s Bellows”, so named after the strong katabatic winds that blow up the ravines.

Natural road block near Post Retief
Natural road block near Post Retief / Photo: Trygve Roberts

The cherry on the top of the day is the big descent down the Katberg Pass, which has become quite a technical pass to drive. We will guide you down with advice on gearing and be there at the difficult spots to assist. Our overnight destination for the next three nights will be at the Katberg Golf Estate and Hotel. The hotel is located at the apex of a lush valley with big trees and an attractive setting. Please note that this is an hotel and not self catering, so there are no fridges in the rooms. But don’t worry – winter in the Katberg is so cold you can leave your chilled stuff on your porch!

Katberg Hotel
Katberg Hotel

Friday 7th June – 250 km
Hogsback, Wolf River Pass, Sindile Dam, Pefferskop.

Our route heads to Seymour and past the Kat River Dam and over the Pefferskop Pass to connect with the Hogsback Pass. There is fuel available in Hogsback for those with smaller ranges.
A tea break at the Historic Hogsback Inn will take you back to yesteryear, before we head east past cascading waterfalls through the lush forests around the village where mystic forests conjure up thoughts of hobbits and fairies reputedly motivating J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel ‘Lord of the Rings’. Next up we tackle the long and winding Wolf River Pass which traverses indigenous and commercial forests and ends near the impressive Sindile Dam. We will visit Keiskammahoek and drive another two tarred passes, before heading back to the Katberg Hotel

Scenery near Hogsback
Scenery near Hogsback

Saturday 8th June – 250 km
Fort Fordyce, Mpofu, Katberg Forests

We get special permission to drive the logging routes through the Katberg State Forest, which will connect us with the Blinkwater Pass near Fort Beaufort. Our route enters the Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve via the steep and scenic Fullershoek Pass. The reserve is exceptionally beautiful. We’ll have our lunch break at the summit under the huge trees.

Misty under the big trees at the Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve
Misty under the big trees at the Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve

The afternoon route will take us past brown’s Vale and into the Mpofu nature Reserve and descend via the Blinkwater Pass, where Andrew Geddes Bain discovered a fossil which became popularly known as the Blinkwater Monster. It was sent to the British Museum in London and officially named after Andrew Bain: Oudenodon bainii. A replica is housed in the Albany Museum in Grahamstown.

We will return via the Katberg Forests but using a different route to get us back to the Katberg Hotel in time for our final night celebrations and Chappies Awards.

Sunday 9th June

Depart for home any time after breakfast, but not later than 10h00.

Our routes are always bespoke and you will be guaranteed the trip of a lifetime, packed with facts, folklore, history and geology snippets – all of it done in a safe, responsible manner.

Tour price (excluding accommodation and meals):

1 Vehicle/1 Person R14,777
1 Vehicle/2 People R15,777
1 Vehicle/3 People R16,777
1 Vehicle/4 People R17,777

Tour price is calculated on number of adults (over 18) per vehicle.

Tour price includes expert guiding, VHF radio hire, Route notes, folders, stationery, name tags, use of recovery gear, compressors and first aid, but excludes accommodation & travel costs.


Accommodation & Other Costs for this tour

Accommodation, meals and ancillary costs are extra, which we will invoice out to you separately about 4 weeks before the tour.

  • Approximately R1250 per person, per day (sharing) for accommodation, breakfast & dinner. In some cases lunch is included as well. Single supplement applies.
  • Pack your own ‘padkos’ for lunches, which we enjoy at whatever scenic spot takes our fancy along the route.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel more than 60 days ahead of the tour:
* If you are able to resell your place to a friend or family member = 100% refund or 100% credit voucher.
* If we resell your ticket on your behalf = 80% refund or 100% credit voucher

If you cancel between 60 and 30 days before the tour:
* If you are able to resell your place to a friend or family member = 100% refund or 100% credit voucher.
* If we resell your ticket on your behalf = 70% refund or 90% credit voucher

If you cancel less than  30 days before the tour:
* If you are able to resell your place to a friend or family member = 100% refund or 100% credit voucher.
* If we resell your ticket on your behalf = 60% refund or 80% credit voucher

Accommodation & meal refunds:
Invoices are generally sent out  between 4 and 6 weeks ahead of the tour start date.
* If you have already received your invoice, you are liable for it, subject to us interacting with the various venues to get you a refund. We pay the venues up front for your accommodation. Most of the establishments are reasonable and offer a full refund. Whatever we can negotiate will be credited to you in full.

Please get in touch with us directly with any questions you may have by email: info@mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za

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Pax

1 vehicle / 1 person, 1 vehicle / 2 persons, 1 vehicle / 3 persons, 1 vehicle / 4 persons

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