Mountains and mountain passes

Tradouw Pass with aloes
Tradouw Pass with aloes

There are plenty of mountains and mountain passes in the Western Cape. One of the more interesting passes is the Tradouw Pass, which crosses the Langeberg between Swellendam and Barrydale. Completed in 1873, it was built by convict labour under the direction of road engineer Thomas Bain. During rebuilding in the seventies, several lay-byes were built, making it safer to stop and take photographs. Dramatic red aloes were flowering when we visited. The pass cuts through a section of the Cape Fold Mountains, and the folds and twists in the sandstone are clearly visible. These folds and twists are even more obvious when driving our usual route to Montagu through the Kogmanskloof. Great for impromptu geology lessons!

Du Toitskloof is another awesome pass – it used to be part of the major route into Cape Town from the north but these days there is an impressive tunnel through the mountain that takes most of the traffic. We drove over the top using the old pass very early one misty morning on our way to Franschhoek and stopped a couple of times, resulting in these stitched panoramas.

Looking back towards the Hex River mountains from Du Toitskloof
Looking from Du Toitskloof towards the Hex River mountains

Looking south towards Paarl and Wellington from the top of Du Toitskloof
Looking south towards Paarl and Wellington from the top of Du Toitskloof

And then we get to the Western Cape’s most iconic mountain – Table Mountain in all her glory, seen from the V&A Waterfront, a combined tourist attraction and working harbour.
Table Mountain and Devil's Peak on the left, from the waterfront.
Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak on the left, from the waterfront.

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