In the period around 1850 farmers in the Swellendam and Barrydale area had issues getting their produce to market, so a local businessman, John Barry (after whom the town of Barrydale was named) opened up a small harbour called Port Beaufort at the mouth of the Breede River. From there goods could be shipped to Cape Town far quicker than by oxwagon. But the problem was that the farmers in the Barrydale area needed a good road to reach the port and in 1867 the authorities approved funds for a road to be built between Swellendam and Barrydale over the Langeberg mountains.
They had no hesitation in calling on master pass builder Thomas Bain, to peg the lines and build the pass. Convict labour numbering around 300, provided the workforce and Bain built a magniificent pass through the mountains. The pass was originally named the Southey Pass, but the locals didn't like the name and reverted to the Tradouw Pass.
The pass has suffered severe flood damage over the last 130 years, once requiring Bain to raise a whole section of the road higher above the flood level. During a major revamp in 1979, the road was completely rebuilt, still using some of Bain's original lines, but in other places, more acceptable gradients and easier corners were introduced by the engineering team who masterfully retained the stone walled look of Bain's old pass, whilst meticulously preserving the fynbos along the route.
The Tradouw Pass is today a much revered mountain pass, that offers the entire spectrum of features that a great mountain pass exhibits. It's long at 16,7 km and has an altitude variance of 215m with multiple bends, corners and curves and over 25 picnic and view sites to enjoy the rock pools and waterfalls as the road follows the course southwards above the Tradouw River.
Take the click through link below and relive this wonderful mountain pass. It's one of a kind!
***** TRADOUW PASS *****
New passes added this week:
Wintersnek (P3222) Eastern Cape
Ballochs Pass (P3222) Eastern Cape
Upgraded videos added this week:
Grootvlei Pass (P2945) Northern Cape
Killians Pass (P2945) Northern Cape
Lundin's Nek Pass (R393) Eastern Cape
Studer's Pass (P2944) Northern Cape
Thought for the day: "Take a road trip. It's good for you"