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.

Go! Camp & Drive - - CONTENTS - Text and pho­tos Evan Naudé

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 drive

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.

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