Two hundred years ago it took the farmers in the Langkloof days to cross the Outeniqua Mountains with their ox wagons. Today, you can do the same route in your 4x4 in half a day.
Two hundred years ago it took farmers in the Langkloof days to cross the Outeniqua Mountains with their ox wagons. Today, you can do the same route in your 4x4 in half a day.
The Langkloof lies between the towns of Herold and Humansdorp, with the Kamanassie and Kouga mountains in the north and the Outeniqua mountain range in the south.
If you were farming here in the 18th century you would have been able to smell the sea from across the mountains, that’s how close you were. But to reach it was another story all together. In 1776, two farmers, Jacobus van Beelen and Stephanus Terblanche, built an ox wagon track over Duiwelskop to connect the Langkloof with the coast. When the Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Route
were completed in 1847 and 1869 respectively, the Duiwelskop Pass (also called the Old Voortrekker Pass) fell into disuse. Fortunately, Thomas Bain extended the pass with a full 11 km in 1864, and it’s this section that today exists as a 4x4 trail.
The trail starts at Louvain Guesthouse and runs past the dam and then it starts going up the mountain. Here the road becomes rocky and you have to switch to 4x4 to conquer a few sharp turns and dongas. When you get to the green “Ou Voortrekker Pas” sign, keep right. And spare a thought for the farmers of yore >
Fortunately, Thomas Bain extended the pass with a full 11 km in 1864, and it’s this section that today exists as a 4x4 trail.
who had to battle this track on their ox wagons. About 2 km from the turn-off, after a rocky climb, you’ll reach the top of the mountain.
On a clear day you can see the Knysna Lagoon in the distance on your left. On your right there’s a deep valley with the impressive sharp Cradock Peak on the horizon. While you descend towards the sea you have to choose your lines well over the rocky terrain so you don’t scratch your bakkie’s underside. When you finally get to the T-junction, keep left and immediately the road changes into a decent dirt road. You’re now in the forestry section of MTO Forestry, and from here you continue straight on this dirt highway because for the rest of the trail there are countless tracks that run off the main road into the plantations. It’s estimated that this networks covers 800 km; so it’s best not to get lost.
The road runs past the Bergplaas Forestry Station and ultimately ends at the junction with the Seven Passes Route. From here it’s 20 km east to Karatara and 9 km west to Hoekwil.
There is also a 4x4 obstacle course on Louvain – the Forest Drive. It’s a circular route that only goes one way because of how the obstacles are laid out. The course is used for training and 4x4 competitions, which makes it a good place to test your abilities and that of your 4x4. Don’t try it alone without some experience, low range, and good ground clearance.
OVER THE HILLS. You can trace the history of this pass back more than 200 years, when it would take days to reach the coast with an ox wagon.