Continuing the trend of this being the year of weekends away as a result of my lack of mobility throughout December and January (February was Jacobsbaai, and March was Mossel Bay), April saw us head out to Warmwaterberg Spa near Barrydale – one of the oldest hot spring resorts in South Africa!
For us, the best route to get there is the N2 and then cut across the R324 to hit the R62 – in other words, we get to cross the magnificent Tradouw’s Pass in the process!
Originally opened in 1873 and built by the famous South African road and pass builder Thomas Bain, the Tradouw Pass (which more or less means Women’s Path in Khoi) is a 17 kilometer mountain drive through the rugged Langeberg region. It connects Swellendam with Suurbraak and Barrydale, and is by far one of the top tarred passes in the Western Cape in terms of beauty and engineering.
The road offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas, and numerous lookout points have been added over the years to make the most of this.
That said, this route has suffered severe flood damage in its 130+ years of existence, with several rebuilds occurring during its lifetime. 1974 was one of the big ones, with the pass being almost completely rebuilt, widened in places and a couple of hairpin bends removed for good measure. It was also completely tarred in the process, and to add an element of landscaping to the project, 4000 aloes and 2500 indigenous trees and shrubs were also planted!
Mountain Passes South Africa has a great informational video showing off the pass and its story up on their website:
Naturally, we stopped at more than just one lookout point to admire the view (and take a few phone camera snaps!) – after all, the last time that we tackled this pass was literally at the dead of night!
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Related Link: Tradouw’s Pass