Rhodes Village – Naude’s Nek – Potsrivier Pass

Rhodes Village – Naude’s Nek – Potsrivier Pass


The small village of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape lies high up in the mountains close to the Lesotho border. A trip there requires you to pass through some of the most beautiful passes and landscapes in South Africa.

Approaching Rhodes from the south will take you through Barkley East, its pass and some really scenic roads, all on tar. A short cut along the tar from Barkley East takes you along the Bell river and past the turn off to Basters Voet Pass down to Ugie. This gravel pass is challenging at the best of times and maybe impassable. (Check with locals).

The approach to roads from Maclear takes you over two majestic passes, namely Potsrivier, and Naude’s Nek, a distance of 75 km and taking at least 1 hour and 30 minutes if all goes well. Potsrivier starting about 21km from Maclear is about 15 km long, with winding roads reaching 1850 m before dropping down to the Pot River. At this point the ascent of Naude’s Nek commences with a further ascent of 762m in 25 Km to a height of 2492m.

The views from the top are “for ever”, and the switch back road down to Rhodes a smorgasboard of views and drop offs. This pass was first crossed by Stefanus and Gabriel Naude in 1896 and the pass surveyed by George Mandy. The pass opened in 1911. Today this gravel pass can still be closed due to washaways or snow.

The Village of Rhodes was originally called Rossville after the DRC Minister David Ross, but subsequently renamed Rhodes after Cecil Rhodes who sent Stone Pines as a gift to the village. (Ref: A Guide to South Africa’s Mountain Passes and Poorts – Patrick Coyne – 2010 – Published by Osborne Porter Literary Services).

The sleepy little village has become a haven for artists and creative people and also has several accomodation abodes that cater for fishermen, tourists and those making their way to Tiffendale Ski Resort.

This post has images of the passes referred to and some of the village buildings.