Latest news! 10th August, 2017

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The Assegaaibosch Pass - Narrow and prone to rockfalls The Assegaaibosch Pass - Narrow and prone to rockfalls - Photo: Trygve Roberts

Kannaland is named after the gannabos or seepbos (soap bush),  a shrub much prized for soap making in early times. The tiny hamlet of Van Wyksdorp is the 'capital' of Kannaland, a strip of land hemmed in by the mountain ranges of the Rooiberg in the north and the Langeberg in the south. This is in the heart of the Little Karoo and our featured pass today lies close to this quiet and undisturbed village.

Often regarded as the undiscovered corner of the Klein Karoo, Van Wyksdorp remains a cultural kaleidoscope untouched by the modern hustle and bustle of city life and where tranquility abounds and time has almost stood still. Situated within the Cape Floristic Kingdom (an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot), Vanwyksdorp is ecologically rich in Succulent Klein Karoo biodiversity. This quaint little village provides a unique charm, warm character and friendly residents. People from afar come here over weekends or permanently to breathe in the atmosphere of a living village. Young and old enjoy themselves while children still play safely in the few streets.  More lower down.....

A big thank you to all our FaceBook followers for getting us over the 14,000 followers boundary. We have upped our game and now post most days of the week to satisfy the ever increasing demand for our hugely popular pass quizzes. 

In van Wyksdorp, many of the residents practice urban and rural agriculture as subsistence farmers and game farmers. The town has three shops, a school, one restaurant, two bottle stores, a postal agency, a diesel pump and a satellite municipal office and clinic.

Some of the local fresh produce grown by local farmers includes fruit, dried flowers for export, as well as the best olives and olive products produced by Mont Rouge Olive Estate. Close to the town is the Assegaay Bosch Ranch which boasts a game reserve, namely the Rooiberg Lodge with luxury accommodation, a restaurant and a 1,5 km airstrip, which is only 7 km away from the village.

Tourists have realised that adventure awaits off the main tar roads to experience Africa as an unforgettable destination. As previously experienced in villages such as Stanford, Greyton, Montagu and Barrydale, Vanwyksdorp is starting to evolve into 'the prominent village' of the Klein Karoo.

This small quiet hideaway in the Klein Karoo is situated on a gravel road on the R327, 42 kilometers from Ladismith and 75 km over the Garcia Pass to Riversdale. The town was established in 1839 as a Dutch Reformed Church parish, on the farm Buffelsfontein which was owned by Gerrit van Wyk. The name Van Wyksdorp was a result of the large number of Van Wyk residents in the area. During the years of the ostrich boom, it was the centre of education in the Little Karoo. The school was built in 1912. At one time the school had well over 200 pupils, who came in from all the surrounding towns.

Vanwyksdorp is renowned for its dried flower industry. Wild flowers are harvested from the mountain sides, dried, dyed and exported. Stock is also present in this farming community with some of the popular stock being angora goats, sheep, cattle and ostriches. Crop farming includes fruit; and particularly apricots are grown in the area.

The source of water for the village is a mountain spring known as ‘the eye’, a fault in the Rooiberg mountain Range. The railway links which were made in the 1920’s to Ladismith and Riversdale caused these towns to grow, whilst Van Wyksdorp slowly shrunk to its present state. The town has a population of about 2,000 people that includes the surrounding villages and farms.

In Vanwyksdorp, you will find a variety of artistic and interesting people, surrounded by a rich culture and fascinating heritage of their beautiful surroundings. [Source: Vanwyksdorp.com]

About 10 km due east of Van Wyksdorp is a narrow, winding mountain pass, which many people mistakenly think is the Rooiberg Pass, but this first steep climb up to the first plateau is actually a completely separate pass, which is called the Assegaaibosch Pass, after the river which marks its western starting point. This is our featured pass of the week as we take you on a cyber drive from east to west in the descending mode where you can experience the vertigo sensation of the narrow middle section after the hairpin. It equals the gradients of the Elands Pass to Die Hel, but is much shorter and at a lower altitude.

If you're a gravel travel fan, add this one to your bucket list. Take the link and enjoy the HD video and decide if this one is for you. The page will be 'open' to all viewers until Sunday evening.

 

* * * * *  ASSEGAAIBOSCH PASS  * * * * *

 


Trygve Roberts
Editor

Thought for the day: "So take the offensive against your fears. Go out to meet them, battle them, conquer them by sheer boldness at every opportunity" ~ Dale Carnegie 
   

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Mountain Passes South Africa

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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