The Drakensberg R74 road between Harrismith and Oliviershoek Pass to be repaired as a matter of urgency

Excerpt from South African Tourism Report, 14 March 2013

KZN tourism officials have stepped up to ensure that the Drakensberg R74 road between Harrismith and Oliviershoek Pass will be repaired as a matter of urgency to prevent further closures of tourism establishments in the area. …

A Spokesperson for KZN Tourism, told Tourism Update the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism,  and his counterpart from the Free State recently met to discuss the impact of the state of R74 on tourism. “It was agreed that this and other issues would be dealt with by a technical task team led by the heads of departments from both provinces. …..

The bad state of the road has led to the closure of a number of guesthouses…. as tourists are currently avoiding the area. The road is the main access to the northern uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage site and at least 100 tourist attractions…..

Tourism establishments in the area have reported dwindling tourism numbers as a result of the deteriorated state of the road and the bad publicity that surrounds it….

ATKV Drakensville, says: “Tourism in the area has suffered a severe blow, especially the pass-through tourist, those coming for a day or a one-night stay. …..Overall, I would say that occupation decreased by 12%…..”

Montusi Mountain Lodge urges tourists to visit the area as only 15km of the roads are in a bad state. “It is quite safe to use this route in daylight, travelling at slow speeds over the 15km. The views are spectacular,” she says….

A Representative from N3 Gateway says “the poor condition of the road is negatively impacting tourism businesses in that area, but this is mostly due to the perception amongst tourists that the road is impassable when travelling to the area.” He says the truth is the 15km stretch of the R74 is drivable, “if you are cautious” and “drive slowly…..”


According to a Report on Utube – Published on Jan 9, 2013  on the condition of the road between Bergville and Harrismith linking KZN and FS Provinces in South Africa.

“….the road is passable if driven at the required speed of 60kph over the 15 kms stretch or roadworks. The balance of the +-45 kms distance can be driven at 100 kph. Taking this route to the Northern Drakensberg resorts saves 85 kms and a R50 toll fee when compared to the alternative of taking the toll route via Bergville….”


  1. de Wets Wild said,

    March 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I’m afraid that the N3 representative who feels that it is just a “perception that the road is impassable” must have a much higher tolerance for terrible road conditions than I have – we used the R74 to get to Royal Natal last year and there’s no way I will travel that road again until it’s been fixed properly, which is a pity ’cause the scenery along the road is breathtaking. Having to navigate your way through those potholes through oncoming and overtaking traffic is a harrowing experience even at 20km/h – we passed two vehicles who had damaged their wheels just on the one occasion we used that stretch of road over Easter 2012 so I shiver to think what it must look like now, almost a year later? I am not saying anyone should stay away from the area, it is not the tourism establishments in the area’s fault and they should be supported; the detour along the N3 and through Bergville is a viable alternative until the R74 is sorted out.

  2. Liz Sanders said,

    June 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I drove the pass at Easter as our daughter lives Winterton, the first part is ok the second you have to drive very carefully not more than 20km, the problem is the locals, we had to wait for the go sign and meanwhile taxi’s, backies all drove past the queue and they meet oncoming traffic, if people would obey the stop-go then everyone could take their time and negotiate the road, that said it’s about time the Free State fixed the pass, it’s gone on too long, once over the pass Natal has fixed the potholes and tarred all the dirt roads in Winterton.

  3. tienie prinsloo said,

    November 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Tienie Prinsloo: Ek wil weet hoe lyk die pad nou op hierdie tydstip voor Kersfees 2013.

  4. November 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Good info. Lucky me I came across your websitre byy
    accident (stumbleupon). I ave book-marked it for later!

  5. said,

    December 7, 2013 at 5:10 am

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  6. Toni said,

    January 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I used the “road” a few days ago, there is at least 20 KM of badly damaged road, the tarred surface has for the most part disappeared. It took me 90 minutes to cover 20 KM. Any lies anyone tells about this road…..

    • rhinoclub said,

      January 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you so much for your feedback. We appreciate all input that may assist our visitors!

  7. Annatjie said,

    March 10, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Has the road over Oliviershoek Pass been fixed yet – or will nothing happens in die next 10 years?

    • rhinoclub said,

      March 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Thank you for your enquiry – as far as we are aware, the road repairs have been included in the plan for the proposed cableway in the Southern Berg. We will investigate for you.

      • Annatjie said,

        March 10, 2014 at 9:20 am

        Thanks for your response -I realy trust this will be consider as a matter of emergency. Regards

  8. April 20, 2014 at 5:22 am

    ETA: I was there in May last year and the road was still un-manned or in any process of repair.

  9. Colett said,

    May 3, 2014 at 7:24 am

    The R74 is terrible no sign of any repair to start in near future and the people on duty for stop and go get money for nothing!

    • rhinoclub said,

      May 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Thank you for your comment. We will try to get an update for you. We are all hoping that there is a plan to start work on the Free State side once the project for the new cable way is confirmed.

  10. Eric said,

    July 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Can anyone give me an accurate update of the R74. I want to use it on my way to Clarens this Thursday 3/7

    • rhinoclub said,

      July 4, 2014 at 10:18 am

      We have finally received an answer for you! The road is still appalling!

  11. thomas said,

    July 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    driven the road last week and it is quite astonishing how a provincial government can pay themselves any salary and allow a provincial road with two digits(means nearly as important as a national highway) fall apart like that. Thank God I live in the Western Cape atleast they fix our roads and don’t just draw millions in salaries without doing anything

  12. Anthony said,

    January 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Considering driving this road around September this year – from Clarens through to Cathedral Peak area with visitors from the USA. Will there have been ANY improvement in this road by then?

    • rhinoclub said,

      January 19, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Hi Anthony. We will try to get an update for you. Can you contact us in August? I will put the update on the blog too.

      • Anthony said,

        January 19, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        Appreciate that, thanks you!

      • Anthony said,

        November 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

        Passed over the Oliviershoek pass from Clarens towards Ladysmith two months ago – there was one diversion (in pretty good condition) and the rest of the road had been repaved. It’s now the kind of road it should be and made the trip worthwhile!

  13. Theresa said,

    March 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I called Little Switzerland yesterday 23rd March 2015 – they advise that repairs to the road have been started. Trust this information is true.

    • rhinoclub said,

      March 24, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      That’s great news! Thank you for letting us know. We will try to get a more detailed update for our members.

      • HarveyG said,

        March 26, 2015 at 7:25 am

        Yup indeed! If any photo’s are available from them that would be great. I will contact The Rose Cottage in Winterton and see if they have any info!

  14. HarveyG said,

    January 27, 2017 at 7:49 am

    This is a rather late reply but the road has been repaired (2016) and is in perfect state… well worth the drive!

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