Ceres has an abundance of passes connecting it to the outside world. One of the oldest is the Hottentots Kloof Pass, which was the original wagon route between Cape Town and the Karoo through Ceres, long before the N1 was thought about. Together with the Karoo Poort these two passes carried considerable wagon traffic to the northern areas. The modern pass we drive on today does not follow the original wagon route, which is slightly further south, a little lower down the slope.
Ceres has an abundance of passes connecting it with the outside world. One of the biggest is the Theronsberg Pass which forms a trio of passes into the north with the Hottentotskloof Pass and the Karoopoort. The pass (on the R46) connects Ceres with the R355 to Calvinia and Sutherland as well as linking up with the N1 highway just north of the Hexrivier Pass via another pass on the R46 - Die Venster (The Window).
The Bo-Swaarmoed Pass (sometimes also referred to as the Uitkomst Pass - after the farm at the foot of the pass) is located to the north of the Swaarmoed Pass, a few kilometers after the Matroosberg/Erfdeel turn-off. It is a gravel road that connects the summit of the Swaarmoed Pass 2,5 km north of the Erfdeel farm, where the tar road is boomed off to a private fruit farm and nature reserve, with the farm Uitkoms in the lower valley to the north. (They have dropped the "t" off from the old Dutch name.)
The Nuwekloof Pass has a long history dating back to the early 1700's and is also known in it's various forms as the Nieuwekloof Pass, the Roodezand Pass or the Tulbaghkloof Pass. It is a modern, safe, well engineered pass which connect the towns of Tulbagh and Wellington on the tarred R46 route.
The wide, safe and well engineered Bothmanskloof Pass is located between the Boland towns of Malmesbury and Riebeeck West on the tarred R46 route, which descends the Kasteelberg through a wide S bend. The pass has history dating back to 1661 and was first recce'd by Pieter Van Cruythoff. The pass is often also referred to as the Bothmaskloof Pass (without the N).
Die Venster translates into The Window. This is an easy pass with gentle curves and a fairly small altitude gain/loss. However, what it lacks in technical drama, it more than makes up for in terms of grand scenery. The road ascends gradually from the west through a curve to the left as it heads for the lowest point between two mountain ranges. From the summit, a vast landscape opens up featuring flat plains stretching as far as the eye can see with rugged mountains interrupting the Karooscape.
Michell's Pass (frequently misspelt as Mitchell's Pass) was named after Charles Michell who planned the original route through the Skurweberg & Witzenberg Mountains from Tulbagh and Wolseley through to Ceres. He was a talented military engineer, who perhaps gained more fame for his exploits by eloping with the 15 year old daughter of a French colonel. This might explain why he was "transferred" to the Cape of Good Hope! Michell went on to become the Surveyor-General for the Colony and designed and built several prominent Cape passes and bridges and was a major influence in road construction in the Cape, together with the popular Colonial Secretary, John Montagu, had the vision to plan a network of roads through the Cape Colony that would pave the way to a successful growth in the region's economy.
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.
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