I genuinely enjoy travelling over the magnificent Tradouw Pass as it snakes its way over the Langeberg mountains, linking up the three towns of Swellendam, Suurbraak, and Barrydale as one moves from the Overberg towards the edge of the Klein Karoo.
Having been built by the legendary road and mountain pass architect Thomas Bain, the 17 kilometer long Tradouw Pass was officially opened in 1873, taking its name from a loose Khoi translation meaning roughly “women’s path”.
The stunningly beautiful pass cuts through green mountains and runs alongside gorgeous canyons – though its original form did make it rather prone to flood damage. Over time a number of renovations would help stabilize the pass, with the biggest of these coming in 1974 when the pass was basically completely rebuilt, with hairpins removed, the road widened, and its surface completely tarred. As part of this process, an additional 4,000 aloes and 2,500 indigenous trees and shrubs were planted, adding another layer of landscaping to this already scenic mountain pass.
Today there are plenty of viewing points to stop at and admire the landscape, which is exactly what I then did as we travelled over the pass on our way to Barrydale for last year’s June School Holidays trip to Warmwaterberg Spa.
(That said, only Emily was eager enough to actually abandon the car and head up to the Drupkelder cave with me!)
As majestic a mountain pass as ever.