Tourism Guide Africa

Swartberg Pass:

One of the world’s beautiful mountain passes

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If you love nature, the outdoors and you enjoy road trips and adventure, then you should definitely drive and experience the Swartberg Pass. It is one of the most scenic drives I have ever experience­d.

About a few weeks ago we spent a few days in Mosselbay and decided to take a drive up to De Aar in the Northern Cape. From Mossel Bay we travelled to the Cango Caves and Oudshoorn, and from Oudshoorn we entered the scenic Swartberg Pass on our way to Prince Albert. The Swartberg Pass is in the Little Karoo in the Western Cape South Africa. It is an untarred road so it’s a gravel road all the way. The Pass is approximat­ely 27 km long and is quite steep and is a very narrow winding road.

Driving along the pass you cannot help to admire the beautiful picturesqu­e views of the mountains and the valleys. The rock faced mountains are absolutely breathtaki­ng and the variety of plant life on the route is wonderful. We made regular stops along the route because the photo opportunit­ies are brilliant. Having your camera handy is a definite necessity.

Before you reach Prince Albert there is a sign board which indicates Gamkaskloo­f to the left. The Hell is situated in the Gamkaskloo­f which is farm land and accommodat­ion is available. The Hell is a very narrow valley with lush green vegetation. The drive from the entrance to the hell is approximat­ely 40km and due to the rugged terrain it about 2 and a half hours drive. The road is the same as the Swartberg Pass, also a gravel road, very narrow and winding with sharp turns. A 4X4 vehicle is recommende­d for this trip. The Hell is an awesome experience, so isolated from everything where you can relax and enjoy the nature around you. The stars are brighter and the air is so clear and clean. On arrival at our booked accommodat­ion for the evening in The Hell, a few Guinea Fowls made their appearance and joined us on the patio, which was such a wonderful experience. So if you need some time away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then The Hell is the place to be, to relax.

Early the next morning we departed, on our way back to the Swartberg Pass, another 2 and a half hours drive to the T-junction to the Swartberg Pass. We then turned left on our way to Prince Albert. Back on the Swartberg Pass, the views were still breathtaki­ng and beautiful. We made random stops again, so that I can capture the beauty on my camera. The fun part was the slow drive through the pass, the reason being, it’s narrow and it’s a gravel road so you cannot drive fast at all. There was no rush so you can actually enjoy the scenery.

I can assure you that our road trip through the Swartberg Pass was one of my most exciting and memorable road trips I have ever experience­d.

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