Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tradouws Pass

I left the Southern Cape this morning to head back to Cape Town after spending a week in what I still believe has to be the most beautiful part of this country. Wherever I travel I hear people telling me that Cape Town is the most beautiful city that they have ever seen and everyone thinks that the area around Cape Town is also the most beautiful area in South Africa. I always ask then if they had been to the Garden Route, because then they would probably think differently. I am sure there are even more places in South Africa that can give Cape Town a run for its money, but if I had the opportunity to move to the Southern Cape tomorrow I would pack my bags and leave before the sun even comes up. Whenever I have to leave that area, at least there is a good consolation for me....I am going back to another beautiful place in South Africa, the Western Cape.

Early morning traffic on Tradouw Pass Road
When I left this morning I had my BIL with me again. He was on his way to friends at Langebaan, so we decided to ride together. My wife and son was traveling along at their own pace in their own vehicle. The plan was to meet up with my family at certain spots to have coffee or breakfast, but for the rest of the trip they were on their own and we were were on our own. When we left Mossel Bay it was overcast and we were expecting rain on the way. My wife wanted to have breakfast at Joubert Tradauw Cellars which were on the other side of the Langeberg Mountains. To get there from the N2 we would meet in Heidelberg for coffee and then cross the mountains via the Tradouws Pass to get on to the famous Route 62. From there it would be back via Montagu, Worcester and back home via the N1 to Cape Town.

We never had any rain along the way, but the sun never shone either which made the riding conditions more pleasant, but yet again interfered in my photos that I tried to capture along the way. I actually only took my camera out for the first time when we turned on to the Tradouw Pass road leading to Barrydale.  I have been across this mountain pass before, but it was not on a bike and definitely not with several stops included. This time I actually had the opportunity to stop a couple of times and to appreciate the beauty. I know it is getting a bit cliched talking about the beauty of all the passes along the South Coast, but every time I cross one of these passes I just realize how much engineering skills it must have required years ago to built these passes. Apart from the fact that the equipment was very primitive the engineers actually had to ride across on horse back to plan the easiest route to take, and that for sure would've been an adventure in itself. This pass was constructed in 1867 and took four years to complete, and like many of the other passes in this area also with the use of convict labour. Apparently over time it had to be reconstructed many times after serious flood damages, but today it is definitely one of the best maintained passes from yesteryear that I have traversed. It also has a couple of very well kept picnic areas along the way, and even though it is another link between the coastal area and the Klein-Karoo, it is much less used than passes like the Outeniqua and Robinson Pass. This makes for a perfect Sunday ride. Below are more pictures from the Tradouws Pass.

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