22 September 2017

Montagu Pass - Exploring History!

Montagu Pass - South Africa

Do you feel like stepping back in time?  Back to 1848?

Then take a drive down the historic Montagu Pass to experience the oldest, unaltered pass still in use in South Africa! It's only 17.3 kms one way - do drive in both directions to fully get the feel of this magnificent pass.

This pass climbs to an altitude of 735m and was completed in 1848. This pass was built to connect George to Oudtshoorn and remains an incredible feat of engineering to this day.

It took 3 years to built this pass - can you imagine the blood,sweat and tears? Convicts were used in the building of the pass which replaced the difficult Cradock Pass. Today the Cradock Pass remains only as a hiking trail.

The engineer in charge of the building of the Montagu Pass was Henry Fancourt White from Australia.
The pass is named after John Montagu who was the Colonial Secretary of the Cape in the 1840's.

Imagine the joy of farmers who required 3 days journey to get between Oudtshoorn and George - with the new pass this was reduced to hours!!

Get the feel of the 1800's as you slowly drive this narow, gravel road. It's narrow and twisty and the ox wagons would have tested the driver's skill in negotiating the bends. One can just about hear the shouting and cracking of the whip.

The gravel road ends at the tiny hamlet of Herold where we discovered "Over the Mountain Guest Farm" They offer tea's and light meals and we opted for THE most delicious chocolate cake and pancakes!

The train line between George and Oudtshoorn 

The highlight of our journey was spotting a train on the line that runs between George and Oudtshoorn. There are not many trains on this route anymore so this was a real treat!

Such a short pass, so much history and now a well deserved National Monument.

© Judelle Drake

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