The Outeniqua Pass

If you are in the mood to take a leisurely drive, the Montagu Pass is one of the most
rewarding, meandering mountain pass that formed an important historic link between
George and the Karoo after it was built in 1848.

You can take the Cape Nature Conservation / Witfontein turn-off on the road to Oudtshoorn
or alternatively watch out for the Montagu Pass sign (a little further on) to get onto this
scenic route.
Keep an eye out for the Knysna Loerie and waterfalls and enjoy a picnic along the way, get
a look from up close of the fynbos and indigenous trees and let your thoughts wander back
to the road pioneers who had to blast away rack to construct the road with the help of
convicts. Drive slowly - this historic pass is narrow and preferably only stop at the top
where there is enough room to park and enjoy the panoramic view.
The building of the pass was a milestone in the history of South African road
communications and a mammoth task that begun in 1844 and was completed under Henry
Fancourt White, a qualified surveyor, in 1845.
You will find a few Historic landmarks on your way, the firs historic landmark you will
encounter is the Keur River Bridge which is built of stone and was designed by Charles
Michell. Further along you will encounter the ramshackle old Toll House (1890). There is a
move afoot to restore it. Every twist and turn in the road were given names by the
wagoneers who cracked their whips to warn of their approach. Evocative names like
Moertjiesklip or Helluva Stone, Die Noute, Haarkantdraai and Remskoendraai are but a few.
Panoramic views are to be had at the top of the pass. As the pass begins to descend to the
Karoo, North Station is one of the historic landmarks that you will encounter. From here,
glance up at the Outeniqua Mountains and see traces of the Cradock Pass, the first pass to
be built across the Outeniquas.

North Station (1844) was used as a convict station, later as a post office, shop, stables and
police station. But it was probably best known as a hotel where travellers and transport
riders could overnight. Many George couples spent their honeymoon in this hotel, wrote
local author Helena Marincowitz.
More recently, several attempts were made to revive the tradition of hospitality, but the
restaurant and guesthouse, which were housed in the restored building, regrettably closed
down.
Herold, a sleepy hollow in the Outeniqua Mountains, has a feeling of being in a time warp.
This village was turned into a quest house complex by the late Michel Joubert, a hop farmer
with an entrepreneurial spirit. Joubert was a story teller of note and was responsible for the
restoration of all the buildings, including the old police station, court house and post office.
Perhaps, if you are lucky, the tea garden may be open.
Along the pass you can also visit the Cracock Wine Farm. There are quite a few ghost
stories told by colourful locals, one being of two slave girls haunting the pass. Their
out-of-control wagon careened down the mountain and being tied to it, they were unable to
jump free.
The Montaqu Pass joins up with the scenic Langkloof from where you can do a return
journey to George via the Outeniqua Pass, a modern road with a number of lookout points.
Ledgend has it that the Langkloof is also haunted. A white apparition is said to be the
restless spirit of a bride who is forever hitching a ride.
Photo's Supplied by Willie Du Plessis

The Outeniqua Pass
N9
Georg, WC
South Africa
33° 55' 38.1576" S, 22° 24' 49.7736" E
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The Outeniqua Pass Scenic Drive
The Outeniqua Pass Scenic Drive
The Outeniqua Pass Scenic Drive

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