Life is about the journey, not the destination – and it's undeniable that some of South Africa's gravel roads

make for far more interesting, scenic drives than most of our highways. Here are seven of our favourite gravel roads.

Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal

Sani pass© image via Wikimedia

This iconic 18-kilometre gravel road passes between Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal and Mokhotlong in Lesotho. Sani Pass is not only one of SA's most scenic routes – offering stunning views of the Drakensberg Mountains – but is also our highest dirt road, reaching a peak elevation of 2 876 metres.

The Swartberg Pass, Western Cape

Swartberg© image via Wikimedia/Winfried Bruenken

This gravel pass connects the towns of Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert in the Little Karoo. Passing over the top of the Swartberg Mountain range, and travelling through deep gorges on the Prince Albert side, the road boasts spectacular views. The pass, which is a national monument, was built between 1881 and 1888 by legendary engineer, Thomas Bain.

The R355, Western Cape and Northern Cape

R355© image via Leisure Wheels

At 250 kilometres, the section of the R355 that connects Ceres and Calvinia holds the record for being the longest stretch of dirt road in South Africa without a single town or petrol station. Although the terrain doesn't vary much along the route, the great expanses of sky and open plains make for a scenic drive.

Dr. Lapa Munnik Pass, Eastern Cape

Munnik© image via Panoramio

This gravel road – also known as the Baster Voetslaan Pass – joins Barkly Pass and Ugie in the Barkly East area. The pass travels through rugged mountains and green valleys in the remote countryside for 35 km, offering one of the most scenic drives through the Southern Drakensberg.

Naude’s Nek Pass (R396), Eastern Cape

Naude pass© image via Willem Kruger

This 46-kilometre dirt road connects the remote towns of Rhodes and Maclear in the Central Karoo. The route between the quaint towns actually consists of a number of short passes – some of which are unnamed. The road, which was built by two brothers as a shortcut to the livestock markets beyond the mountains, peaks at 2587 metres, making it the second highest dirt road in South Africa.

Lotheni Road, KwaZulu-Natal

Lotheni road© image via Panoramio

Lotheni Road, a gravel alternative to the R617, twists through the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, between the towns of Himeville and Nottingham Road. The 92 kilometre road has some breath-taking views, and is (not surprisingly) a favourite destination for photographers, campers and birding enthusiasts.

The Seven Passes, Western Cape

This 75 kilometre gravel road, which connects George and Knysna, travels through seven gorges and crosses over seven rivers – namely the Swart, Hoogekraal, Homtini, Karatara, Silver, Kaaimans and Touw. The route passes the gold-rush town of Millwood and the Big Tree picnic site, and travels through the dramatic Phantom Pass. Like the Swartberg Pass, the Seven Passes was designed by famed engineer, Thomas Bain.

Of course, motor graders play a vital role in the building and on-going maintenance of gravel roads. At KH Plant, we specialise in reconditioning Caterpillar motor graders, restoring them to as-new condition. Contact us for more information or a quotation.