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“The South African Version of Italian Job” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swartberg Pass

Swartberg Pass
Oudtshoorn, South Africa
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Top Rated
$392*
and up
4-Day Garden Route Tour from Cape Town
Ranked #1 of 25 things to do in Oudtshoorn
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Wrexham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
61 attraction reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“The South African Version of Italian Job”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

A scary drive (tip - ensure you have a 4x4) this pulsating up and down trip offers once in a lifetime views of the interior mountains and overhanging geological formations. Don't be put off - do it. Remember to find somewhere for a quiet beer to steady the nerves afterwards - De Rust is recommended.

Visited September 2012
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366 reviews from our community

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George, South Africa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Swartberg Pass Circle Route”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2012

I travelled the Circle route via the Swartber Pass to Prince Albert and back to Oudtshoorn via Meiringspoort and De Rust yesterday. The road was excellent and teh views and scenery unrivalled. If you are in the area, saty an additional night and take this drive! It took us about six hours, including stops at many viewpoints, lunch in Prince Albert, a short hike to see the waterfall in Meirongspoort and sundowners in De Rust. The snow is almost completely melted and the spring flowers are starting to show their bright colours. Stop and take a drink from one of the many 'drifts' of brave a swin the waterfall pools. This is an outstanding scenic drive and highly recommended.

Visited September 2012
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Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Absolute must to see if in this area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

The pass is one of the the most impressive passes in South Africa with its spectacular geology and flora and fauna. The engineering skills of Thomas Bain is clearly a miracle if you keep in mind that this pass was built between 1883 to 1888, by hand.
This 27 km. pass is a link between the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo, with Oudtshoorn on the Little Karoo side and Prince Albert on the Great Karoo side.
This is also a world heritage site which was declared a National Monument in 1988, and is a must to see when visiting this area.

Visited August 2012
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Farnham, United Kingdom
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15 reviews 15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“The pass that surpasses”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

To drive the Swartberg Pass is to enter a little slice of heaven - and to think that it was built over a hundred years ago by Thomas Bain, 200 convicts and lots of gunpowder. He and his father were master mountain-pass builders in the most hostile of environments. It is said that other engineers were hugely challenged to find a route over the Swartberg Mountains and failed - and Thomas Bain got on his horse and allowed the horse to pick its way through the mountain and Thomas plotted the route and the rest is history. There are a few routes to go over the pass - through Oudtshoorn, through De Rust, from Meiringspoort, take your pick or better still do them all. The pass is breathtaking so take your time, stop for the views and marvel at the sheer brilliance of the vision of Thomas Bain. Prince Albert is a quaint village at the end of the pass, lovely to stay there or have a meal or a coffee before turning around and doing the pass again from the other side! It's a gravel road in very good condition though in the rain it would be a little slippery and anyway you wouldn't see the views so it wouldn't be worth it. I think I have done the pass at least ten times and never tire of it. I've not taken the road to Die Hel yet but it is on my bucket list. And also look at the map and try not to take the main roads to the pass - there's a wonderful road through the Groenfontein area, past the Cango Caves which is so worth it - and the Red Hills Road too is fantastic. Probably my most favourite area of the Western Cape.

Visited October 2011
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Hampton, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Spectacular views!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

We were a group of 4 women in our own rental vehicle and decided to take the pass after visiting the Cango Caves. It is well worth the trip. Give yourself plenty of time to stop and take pictures,especially of some of the flowers and views! We had a late lunch in Prince Albert and then continued down on the other side, we didn't back track. Don't be afraid of the narrow gravel road, just take your time and enjoy the views! Prince Albert is a beautiful little town and a great place to shop, get an ice cream, or a meal!

Visited March 2012
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