Chantelle and I enjoyed a weekend away in Tulbagh towards the end of last year. We decided to head home via Wellington for a change, and that led to a decision to tackle the rocky Bain’s Kloof Pass, a road that I literally haven’t been on since I was a teenager!
Created in the 1850s, the Bain’s Kloof Pass was built to connect Wellington to Ceres, and like all the well made mountain passes in South Africa, was designed and built by a Bain – though this time around it was father Andrew Geddes Bain as opposed to his more famous road engineer son, Thomas Bain!
The now tarred mountain pass is a national heritage site, and runs for about 20 km as it moves from the Breede River, across the Limiet mountains and along the Witte river.
Popular with hikers due to its isolation, striking scenery and of course many rock pools (perfect for swimming), the mountain pass sees a fair bit of tourist activity, with the popular bush pub at the start of the pass (on the Wolseley side) doing brisk business, particularly with all the bikers that take on the pass’s many dangerous twists and turns!
It is relatively nerve-wracking/exciting pass to drive, thanks to its narrowness, unforgiving stone barricades, and sharp drop-offs, not to mention the numerous twists and turns that seem intent on making any person sitting in the passenger seat rather… uncomfortable.
Chantelle found the drive harrowing, I loved it, and the views afforded from the summit overlooking Wellington are simply put, spectacular.
Well worth tackling if you are in the area then.
The team behind Mountain Passes South Africa do a fantastic job in detailing the various mountain passes of South Africa, and for Bain’s Kloof Pass they’ve actually filmed a four part series, all of which are well worth the watch if you are interesting in the details and story behind this national heritage site of ours:
Part 1: Orientation and Overview:
Part 2: From Breede River to Tweede Tol:
Part 3: From Tweede Tol to Bain’s Kloof Village
Part 4: From Eerste Tol to Wellington:
Finally, a map in case you want to tackle this hairy pass yourself: