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Mountain Pass Oliviershoek Pass

ID: w155385 View large map

Located in South Africa :: KZN Drakensberg  :: Mkukwini/Ematsheni
Category: Scenic Routes :: Mountain Pass

Oliviershoek Pass lies along the Alternative Route (R74) from Harrismith to Durban The Border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces is as the top of the Oliviershoek Pass. The large and beautiful Sterkfontein Dam which forms part of the Tugela Vaal Water Scheme that supplies water to Johannesburg is in this area. Overlooking the dam is a spot where the conservation authorities leave carcasses for the Cape Vultures - a vulture 'restaurant'. From the Oliviershoek Pass the escarpment changes to Karoo sandstone in Kwazulu-Natal, to granites in Swaziland, and finally to quartzite's along the Mpumalanga and Northern Province Drakensberg.

Address :  Little Switzerland, KZN, South Africa

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“The trek-party of Piet Retief started to ascend the Drakensberg along the Oliviershoek Pass on 19 October 1837. They trekked left past the Oudeberg Spring until they reached a fountain, near the present day Retief Rock, where they stopped for a short period. Erasmus Smit named this area Kerkenberg because it reminded him of a church or a place where religious gatherings could be held. During this time Piet Retief was visiting King Dingane in order to negotiate the possibility of acquiring some land for the Voortrekkers. On his 57th birthday (12 November 1837) his daughter, Debora Retief, wrote her father’s name and the date on an overhanging rock with green paint. The other names that appear on the rock are those of the Bethlehem commando that occupied the Oliviershoek Pass on 10 October 1899 with the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War. This rock can still be seen today. It is situated 30 km south of Harrismith, over the steep Oliviershoek Pass at Kerkenberg. The green painted writing is protected against natural elements such as the wind and rain by a glass case, which was placed over the writing much later. With the 1937-Centenary Celebrations a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Mrs. J.C. Preller and in 1986 the English version of the plaque was donated by students of the Pretoria Technicon.” - Chris Smit, 2009/11/12

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