The Swartberg pass is a mountain pass that connects Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert in the Klein Karoo.
Upon our recent trip to Oudtshoorn we saw a little booklet about this pass at a restaurant. I will forever be thankful that my brother-in-law picked up the booklet and had a look at it. He proceeded to tell up about the pass over lunch.
It was built by Italian convicts between 1881 and 1888 and the engineer was Thomas Bain. Thomas Bain was the son of Andrew Bain, whom built the historical Bains Kloof Pass. Talented family hey?
Not everyone is as much of a history enthusiast as I am so don’t worry, if you don’t find the builders fascination I can promise this pass will still take your breath away. What made us take the pass was the fact that it is untouched. Yup, that’s right, it is not tarred. It is narrower than a single carriageway and the hair pin turns are so tight you have to hoot when going around a corner. It was quite an experience. One I would highly recommend. The views alone make you feel so small and so big all at the same time. There are Erica Proteas that grow wild in the valleys of the pass and the mountains themselves are unlike any I have ever seen. It’s as if the bright orange stones made waves into each-other. It is the only time I feel confident enough to call something majestic. But it honestly was. Majestic.
If ever you find yourself in the area, take this slow route. You wont regret it for one second.
OH, before I forget. Do you remember the David Kramer VW Volksiebus advert? It was filmed on this pass.