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Mountain Pass Swartberg Pass (Summit 1575m)

ID: w128065 View large map

Located in South Africa :: Western Cape (Klein Karoo)
Category: Scenic Routes :: Mountain Pass

The 27 km long Swartberg Pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert is considered one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world. It was Thomas Bain's last engineering masterpiece completed around 1888 and declared a National Monument in 1988. Prince Albert lies at the entrance to pass. A gravel road winds to the summit 1 575 metres above sea level in steep zigzags and sudden hairpins with breath-taking views at every turn. The turn-off to Gamkaskloof (also known as 'Die Hel') lies near the summit of the pass. Along the way there are relics of an old prison, toll hut, hotel and other interesting historical sites. There is a picnic spot and view point at the summit from where you can enjoy magnificent views to the north with the Nuweveld Mountains on the horizon beyond Beaufort West and towards the Outeniqua Mountains in the south, beyond which lies the sea.

Contact
Address :  Scenic Cape Route 62, South Africa
Contact :  Nature Conservation in George
Tel :  +27(0)44 802 5310
Tel2 :  +27(0)23 5411 366
Website :  Click Here

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“The spectacular Swartberg Pass runs through the Swartberg range that lies roughly east-west along the northern edge of the semi-arid area called the Little Karoo in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The Swartberg is amongst the best exposed fold mountain chains in the world, and the pass slices through magnificently scenic geological formations. To the north of the range lies the other large semi-arid area in South Africa, the Great Karoo. Much of the Swartberg is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built using convict labour by Thomas Bain and opened on January 10, 1888. The drystone work supporting some of its picturesque hairpin bends is particularly noteworthy. Thomas (son) and Andrew (father) Bain were between them responsible for the construction of many of the spectacular mountain passes (still in use today) found throughout South Africa. What makes the Swartberg Pass between the towns of Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert so famous is . . . the spectacular geology that is exposed at its Northern end. The contortions in the rock display astonishing anticlines and synclines, and the vivid coloration of the surrounding Quartzite is remarkable. At the Northern end of the pass seven hundred metre high quartzite cliffs of the upper Table Mountain Group can be seen, and these are often tilted through 90 degrees (sometimes even more). Arguably the most famous of all these cliff faces is the spectacular ‘Wall of Fire’. - Wikipedia” - Chris Smit, 2024/04/27

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