But let's go back to 1847. At the time Charles Michell was the Surveyor-General of the Cape, who was called on to design a bridge over the often powerful Keur River. Michell was a master designer who had been educated at Sandhurst in England and designed the attractive bridge which still stands stoutly and gracefully after 171 years of service.
Perhaps Thomas Bain's fame overshadows that of Charles Michell, but the latter is also a man who had great vision and influence on the progress of the Cape at the time. We are talking of course about what was considered a masterpiece of road building in its time - the Montagu Pass.
It was Michell who authorised and raised the funds (at the time a large amount of money - 36,000 Pounds Sterling) for the construction of the pass. The road still carries daily traffic between the towns of George and Oudtshoorn, but consists mainly of tourists, with the bulk of the heavy traffic routing over the more modern (1952) Outeniqua Pass on the western side of the valley.
At the time, the Montagu Pass (named after Sir John Montagu) was considered to be state of the art and was South Africa's finest piece of road engineering. It was on this pass that several engineering techniques were developed and it was also the first pass to be built exclusively using convict labour. The pass was constructed with a maximum gradient of 1:6 which must have seemed like a highway after the seriously steep and dangerous Cradock Pass, which preceded it.
We refilmed the entire pass from Herold to George in February 2018 in 1080HD with a silky smooth stabiliser in operation and have produced a brand new 4 part video set which covers every aspect of safety, tourism and technical information for first time drivers and for those who have already driven it, there is probably information you didn't know about.
For those who prefer driving the pass in the ascending mode, we have left our 2017 video set in place at the bottom of the page.
So, sit back, relax and enter the world of ghosts, convicts, adventurers, murderers and lovers as we take you down the timeless Montagu Pass. Just click the hyperlink below, which will take you directly to the pass page.
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New passes added this week:
Kempslust Pass (KZN) - A remote gravel pass with a 222m altitude variance near the village of Luneburg.
Upgraded videos added this week:
Swaarmoed Pass (WC) - A big tarred pass north of Ceres and the main access route to the snowfields at Klondyke and Matroosberg.
Thought for the day: "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing" ~ Walt Disney