Abel Erasmus Pass

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Information provided by Hans Bornman from his unpublished book, Lowveld Tour Guide:

A winding, and in some parts, spectacular mountain route, the Abel Erasmus Pass joins the hot, dusty lowveld plains to the rugged plateau of the Drakensberg. Named after the pioneer settler, Abel Erasmus, from Ohrigstad. It was once the route of the Zeederberg stage coaches. The modern road was opened on 8 May 1959. It is about 10 km long, incorporates the J G Strijdom Tunnel (132 m and built during 1958/9) and is named after the fifth South African Prime Minister. At the end the visitor is presented with a dramatic view of the escarpment plunging down to the north of the Olifants River below and the Lowveld stretching into the distance.

There are many picnic sites along the pass, notably on the high southern side, where a slender waterfall tumbles down lichen-covered crags. A thriving fruit market operates at the southern end of the Strijdom Tunnel on a strip of tar originally reserved for viewing the steep valley below.

At various points markers point out the Old Coach Road, parts of the original route followed by stage-coaches. The ‘Devil’s Pulpit’, on its northern side, is a popular viewing site for tourists.