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Paardekop Pass (R340)

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Paardekop Pass summit view Paardekop Pass summit view - Photo: Trygve Roberts

The Paardekop Pass delves a long way back into history and is recorded as far back as 1772 by the explorer, Thunberg in his journal. The original route was an elephant path which was later to become a bridle path, followed by the inevitable need for an ox-wagon route. It was considered to be one of the most dangerous passes in the colony in its day.

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Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.



Digging into the details:

In 1855 a surveyor by the name of Charles Lennox Strech, surveyed the route properly and designed a new line for an easier route through the mountains. The old route had some extremely dangerous gradients, resulting in some cases, that wagons had to be dismantled and carried piece by piece over the mountain. Strech's route took some 30 years to reach fruition and was finally built in 1888 by P.H.Ferreira. Scars from the original ox-wagon trail can still be seen on the south western side of the pass.

Paardekop Pass  was a huge obstacle for ox-wagonsAn artists impression of just how tough the original Paardekop Pass was for wagon traffic / Photo: WikipediaThe highlights of the pass are the expansive and grand views over the Keurbooms River Valley to the north. Beyond the foot of the pass for those travelling west, a T junction will be reached. From there you can head south (left) to Knysna or turn to the north and visit the magnificent and historical Thomas Bain masterpiece, which is the Prince Alfred's Pass as well as the valley settlement of Avontuur which boasts two historical buildings - a school and post office dating back more than a hundred years. There is the pub with the unusual name of "Angie's G-Spot" and several good self catering and B&B establishments to cater for every need. The valley is perhaps best known for it's trout fishing. It is a good place to spend an afternoon (or longer) relaxing and enjoying the gentle climate and panoramic scenery.


Fact File:

GPS START

S33.946504 E23.327098

GPS SUMMIT

S33.910065 E23.228242

GPS END

S33.892251 E23.188944

AVE GRADIENT

1:38

MAX GRADIENT

1:9

ELEVATION START

252m

ELEVATION SUMMIT

669m

ELEVATION END

465m

HEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

417m

DISTANCE

16,0km

DIRECTION - TRAVEL

North-West

TIME REQUIRED

15 minutes

SPEED LIMIT

40 - 60 kph

SURFACE

Gravel

DATE FILMED

15.01.2013

TEMPERATURE

25C

NEAREST TOWN

Plettenberg Bay (30km)


Route Map:

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From Address:


Route files:

||Click to download: Paardekop Pass R340 (Note - This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google earth and most GPS software systems)

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