N12 (South Africa)

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National route N12 shield

National route N12
The N12 at Perseboom Drift in Meiringspoort as it passes through the Swartberg
Route information
Maintained by SANRAL
Length1,342 km (834 mi)
Major junctions
Southwest end N2 near George
  N9 near George
N1 near Beaufort West
N1 at Three Sisters
N10 at Britstown
N8 in Kimberley
N18 at Warrenton
N1 near Soweto
N3 at Alberton
N3 at Bedfordview
Northeast end N4 in Witbank
Major citiesGeorge, Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom, Johannesburg, Germiston, Witbank
Highway system
Numbered routes of South Africa

The N12 is a national route in South Africa which runs from George through Beaufort West, Kimberley, Klerksdorp and Johannesburg to Witbank[1] It is maintained by the South African National Roads Agency[citation needed]



The road starts in George in the Western Cape and ends in Witbank in Mpumalanga. The road runs roughly from south to north, however, once it passes Kimberley in the Northern Cape, it gradually turns eastward. Only the section between Soweto and Witbank is a limited access dual motorway. The section between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom is a dual carriage highway. The N12 remains the only other National Route other than the N1 that links Beaufort West with Greater Johannesburg.

Western Cape

The N12 Route begins east of George at an intersection with the N2. From this junction, it is cosigned with the N9. It goes north-west, through the eastern and northern suburbs of George. Near Mont Fleur Mountain Estate, the N12/N9 turns northwards, passing though the western area of the Witfontein Nature Reserve.

At the junction with the R62 at the northern edge of the Outeniqua Mountains, the N12 splits from the N9 and becomes cosigned with the R62, going north-west towards Oudtshoorn (33 km). In Oudtshoorn, at the four-way intersection with the R328, the R62 continues by way of a left turn and the N12 continues by way of a right turn at the same junction. The N12 goes east-north-east for 35 km up to De Rust, where it meets the R341. At this point, it turns northwards, becoming the Meiringspoort Pass, passing the Swartberg mountain range. After Meiringspoort, at Klaarstroom, the N12 cosigns with the R407 for a few kilometres westwards up to the next junction, where the R407 continues west and the N12 continues north. The N12 makes a 120 km journey to Beaufort West.

Just before Beaufort West, at the south-eastern edge of the Karoo National Park, the N12 meets the N1 Road and joins it. They are one route through Beaufort West. The N1 and the N12 routes remain as one road for the next 75 km north-east from Beaufort West to Three Sisters, where they enter the Northern Cape.

Northern Cape

At Three Sisters, by the Shell Ultra City, the N12/N1 enter the Northern Cape. At the next junction, the N12 and the N1 split, with the N1 continuing to Colesberg and the N12 becoming the road northwards. The N12 and the N1 meet again later, in Johannesburg South, Gauteng. The N12 is the only other National Route other than the N1 that links the Western Cape with Johannesburg, with the N12 passing through Kimberley and the N1 passing though Bloemfontein.

From the Three Sisters split, the N12 makes a 170 km journey, through Victoria West, to Britstown, where it meets the N10 Route coming from De Aar. The two routes cosign for 3 km before the N10 makes its own way towards Upington and Namibia. the N12 continues north-east for 254 km, through Strydenburg and Hopetown to Kimberley, where it meets the N8 and R64 from Bloemfontein.

From Kimberley, the N12 makes a 75 km Journey to Warrenton, where it meets the N18 Road.

The A2 from Gaborone and Lobatse, becoming the N18, passing through Mahikeng and Vryburg, North West to Warrenton, together with the N12 to Beaufort West, Western Cape and the N1 Road to Cape Town are collectively declared part of the Trans African Highway no. 4 Extension (Cairo-Cape Town Highway) (Great North Road). The N12 between Three Sisters and Warrenton is very important as it is the link between Gaborone and Cape Town.

North West

At Warrenton, the N12 enters the North West. It makes a 100 km Journey, through Christiana to Bloemhof, where it meets the long R34 Road (longest Provincial road in South Africa).

From Hopetown to Bloemhof, the N12 National Route gradually follows the shape of the border between the Northern Cape and the Free State, as well as the border between the North West and the Free State. (Following in close proximity, but never touching the Free State border)

From Bloemhof, the N12 continues north-east, for 150 km, passed Wolmaransstad, to Klerksdorp, where it becomes a freeway (dual carriageway highway). it continues as a freeway for another 50 km to Potchefstroom, an academic city.


After Potchefstroom, the N12 enters Gauteng and bypasses the towns of Carletonville, Westonaria and Lenasia as the Moroka Bypass into the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. Just after being the road separating Soweto and Lenasia, the N12 meets the N1 Road Again, which marks the beginning of the N12 being a Toll Road.

The N12 and the N1 become one road northwards for a few kilometres up to the Diepkloof Interchange, the south-western corner of the Johannesburg Ring Road. As the N1 continues north through the western area of Johannesburg's municipality as the N1 Western Bypass, the N12 becomes the road going eastwards through the southern area of Johannesburg as the N12 Southern Bypass. Here, the N12 Southern Bypass, which cuts a concrete swath through the rocky hills of southern Johannesburg, is apparently very reminiscent of the freeways of Los Angeles, and together with Johannesburg's sunshine, renders a real Southern California feel to that part of the city.

Just after Diepkloof, the N12 meets the M1 Freeway, which is the freeway to Johannesburg Central and Sandton. The Highway continues eastwards, bypassing Southgate Mall and Aeroton, through Ridgeway, to Alberton. At the interchange with the R59 Sybrandt van Niekerk Freeway in Alberton, the N12 begins to change direction.

At the Elands Interchange, the N12 merges with the N3 Freeway From Heidelberg and Durban to form the N3 Eastern Bypass portion of the Johannesburg Ring Road, going northwards. At the Elands Interchange, as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme, two slip roads have been made linking the N17 Freeway to the N12 Freeway. It is now possible to travel from the N12 West to the N17 West and from the N12 East to the N17 East (previously only possible via The N3).

While cosigned with the N3 northwards, they are one road, intersecting with the M2 Freeway at the Geldenhuys Interchange (Johannesburg & Germiston Exit) and being 6 lanes in each direction, up to the Gillooly's Interchange in Bedfordview. At this interchange, The N12 leaves the Johannesburg Ring Road (which continues as the N3 up to Johannesburg North) and joins the R24 Airport Freeway eastwards. Due to common traffic at this interchange, it is purported to be the busiest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere.

The N12 is cosigned with the R24 Airport Freeway for 2 kilometers. Just before Edenvale Road, the R24 and the N12 Split, with the R24 becoming its own east-north-east freeway towards O. R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg International Airport) and the N12 continuing eastwards on the same highway towards Benoni and Witbank, Mpumalanga.

The N12 continues through the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Bypassing Germiston and Boksburg. North Of Boksburg, the N12 meets the R21 Toll Freeway from Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport. It continues as the road separating Benoni Central from Benoni Farms. It continues eastwards, bypassing Daveyton and Etwatwa, to Mpumalanga.


In Mpumalanga, the N12 Freeway first bypasses the town of Delmas. Around this area, the N12 Freeway stops being a toll road. The N12 goes for another 60 km, bypassing Ogies, to Witbank.

The N12 National Route marks its end at the point where it merges with the N4 Platinum Highway eastwards before Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

Meiringspoort Pass[edit]

The Meiringspoort section in the Swartberg between De Rust and Klaarstroom follows the gorge cut by the Groot River. It is a scenic drive crossing twelve old drifts (replaced by bridges today). From De Rust one will cross the drifts in the following order: Spook drift, Boesman drift, Nooiensboom drift, Dubble Drif se Draai, Ou tol drift, Wa drift, Witfontein se drift, Ontploffings drift, Perskeboom drift, Wasgat drift, Eerste/Laaste drift.[2][3]


  • Herrie's Stone, Meiringspoort. The writer C.J. Langenhoven chiselled the name of the elephant Herrie from his book Sonde met die Bure, on this rock in July 1929.[4]


  1. ^ Falkner, John (May 2012). South African Numbered Route Description and Destination Analysis (Report). National Department of Transport. pp. 27–30. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  2. ^ G. Ross: Romance of Cape Mountain Passes. New Africa Books. 2004. ISBN 0864866631, 9780864866639. p.89.
  3. ^ Meiringspoort pass
  4. ^ "Herrie's Stone, Meiringspoort, Oudtshoorn District - 9/2/068/0010". South African Heritage Resource Agency. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.

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