Today's news release takes us to the mountain range between Calitzdorp and Ladismith in the Western Cape, where the Huisrivier Pass mostly hides in the shadows of it's main competitors in this pass rich area. Those are the Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort and Seweweekspoort. Many travellers don't appreciate the quality of the engineering on the Huisrivier Pass, but read on as we unpack the 200 year old story behind this big pass.
The year 1951 saw an energetic young road engineer by the name of Graham Ross, climbing the rocky slopes of the pass as a new all weather road was planned between the two Klein Karoo towns. Theodolites and Abney levels were carefully carted around the mountains as obstacle after obstacle challenged the engineers. It took almost ten years to complete the final planning.
Prior to the new road, the shortest route between the two towns was via a grizzly poort named Caledon Poort - a narrow and dangerous traverse through a steep sided gorge of towering sandstone cliffs, which proved to be hard on wagons as well as the oxen that pulled them. After some 80 years, the dry river bed was littered with broken wheels and oxen bones - a testament to just how tough the route was. But the great flood of 1885 completely devastated the route (as well as Meiringspoort) and left the road planners with the issue of planning a new road up and over the mountains, rather than through the shorter poort route. More lower down.....
Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
Passes are classified according to provinces and feature a text description, Fact File including GPS data, a fully interactive dual-view map and a narrated YouTube video.
We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.