Sto­ries in stone

go! - - Take Your Pic Reader Photos - WORDS SHEL­LEY CHRIS­TIANS PIC­TURES SAM REIN­DERS

The 27 km Swart­berg Pass be­tween Oudt­shoorn and Prince Al­bert is one of the finest moun­tain passes in the world: a gravel rib­bon that soars to 1 583 m above sea level, with heart-stop­ping views at ev­ery zigzag and switch­back. The pass is the crown­ing achieve­ment of mas­ter road engi­neer Thomas Bain, who was also re­spon­si­ble for nearby Meir­ingspoort and many other fa­mous passes in South Africa. Com­pleted in 1888, some of the hand­packed stone walls are still in place. The Swart­berg Pass is a na­tional mon­u­ment and much of the sur­round­ing moun­tain range is a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. On 9 April 2017, a flash flood washed away a sec­tion of the pass on the Prince Al­bert side. It will take time to re­build be­cause the work will have to be done ac­cord­ing to UNESCO stan­dards to recre­ate the look and feel of Bain’s orig­i­nal. Word in the Ka­roo town is that the pass should be open to the pub­lic again by the end of the year. Sam Rein­ders is a free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher and for­mer go! pic­ture ed­i­tor. Her par­ents live in Prince Al­bert and she drives the pass reg­u­larly. These pho­to­graphs span a 13-year pe­riod – a love song to the pass and the mag­nif­i­cent land­scape it tra­verses.

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