My favourite Western Cape mountain passes MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Discovering the Joy of Western Cape Mountain Passes

When it comes to seeking adventure, many people are drawn to extreme activities like bungee jumping, paragliding, or shark-cage diving. While those experiences certainly offer an adrenaline rush, I’ve come to realize that my favorite thrills can be found in a much simpler way. All it takes is a car or some comfortable walking shoes, a picturesque mountain pass, and a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine.

When I first encountered South Africa’s mountain passes, I was in for a surprise. While on vacation soon after I moved here, I decided to take a diversion from the R62 to Prince Albert. As I made my way through the Meiringsport Pass from De Rust, I couldn’t help but feel my jaw drop lower and lower. The next day, I embarked on the Swartberg Pass, and let me tell you, it left me speechless.

The landscapes I encountered were beyond words. Coming from the North American Rocky Mountains, I thought I had seen it all, but these mountain ranges had something entirely different to offer. The sheer beauty and awe-inspiring views of the Swartberg took my breath away.

Image: Driving towards Prince Albert on Swartberg Pass

Don’t worry if you think a small car won’t handle the roads to some of the most beautiful landscapes in South Africa. While a 4×4 might be needed in some places, having the lowest class of rental car doesn’t mean you’re completely limited. As long as your tires are in good condition and your handbrake works, you’ll have no problem tackling even the steep gravel slopes of the Swartberg.

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If you don’t have time to venture into the Karoo, don’t worry. There are plenty of stunning mountain drives near Cape Town. One of my personal favorites is just beyond Franschhoek. While enjoying a leisurely day in the winelands, you can take a detour on the R45 towards Villiersdorp. This winding road is well-maintained and offers breathtaking views of the vineyards below.

In my travels, I stumbled upon a hidden gem tucked away along the R62 between Ladismith and Calitzdorp. It’s a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered – just a ten-kilometer drive down the gravel road marked “Seweweeksport”. What awaits you is nothing short of breathtaking.

Now, here’s a little secret I’ve discovered about capturing the true essence of a mountain view: forget about your camera. Trust me, trying to frame the beauty of the landscape through a lens is like trying to capture a thunderstorm in a bottle – you’ll always fall short. Instead, immerse yourself in the moment. Let your eyes drink in the vista before you, the majestic rock walls reaching for the heavens, the vibrant colors that words can’t do justice to. No photograph can truly capture that magic.

So, I invite you to embrace the experience. Take a leisurely drive, feel the wind whispering through your hair, and let the mountain heights envelop your soul. And when you yearn for another glimpse, fear not. The beauty will patiently await your return, forever etched in the fabric of this magnificent place.

And if you’re planning to venture further, Swartberg Pass beckons as you make your way towards Outshoorn. Trust me, the wonders you’ll encounter along the way will leave you breathless.

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If you’re looking for an unforgettable road trip in the Western Cape, I’ve got just the thing for you! Let’s hit the road and explore some breathtaking routes and charming towns.

First on our list is the Swartberg and Meiringsport. This drive will take you through stunning mountain passes and give you the opportunity to stay overnight in Prince Albert at Onse Rus. Trust me, it’s the perfect place to unwind and recharge before continuing your journey the next morning. Oh, and make sure to treat yourself to a delicious dinner at the Gallery Café. With mouthwatering dishes like warthog shank and duck, port, and black cherry pie, you’ll be in food heaven!

Now, let’s head to the Seweweeksport. Hop on the R62 from Cape Town and make a stop in Barrydale for a night at the Tradouw Guest House. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, pack a picnic and venture into the pass for some awe-inspiring views. Once you’ve soaked up the beauty of the surroundings, make your way to Lorenzo’s in Calitzdorp. Take a break in his shady garden and enjoy a cup of tea. It’s the perfect place to relax and savor the moment.

If you want more information on passes and poorts in the Western Cape, including routes, tips, and accommodation options, look no further! Check out the Getaway Passes and Poorts guide for all the details you need.

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