Karoo views and landscapes along the Swaershoek Pass

I don’t know how many times my tourism friends in Cradock and Somerset East have asked me if I have driven over the Swaershoek Pass yet. I just heard about the beautiful Karoo landscape and stunning views but because the route is 76km of dirt road I’ve been a little hesitant. But that changed recently when the N10 road outside Cradock was blocked due to protests and I had to take the alternative between the two mentioned towns in the…

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The Van Staden’s River gorge road bridges

Van Standen's Groge with the arch bridge crossing it The Van Staden's River west of Port Elizabeth is the boundary of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and a major landmark in the area. Most people cross the gorge on the N2 in a couple of seconds using the arch bridge while others take their time and drive through the old pass. But where does the name Van Staden's come from and when were the different bridges built? The arch bridge,…

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Plaatbos forest and Storms River Pass

The Tsitsikamma is one of my happy places. It is where I go to recharge my soul and get close to nature and that is what we as a family did a couple of week ago. It wasn't a comprehensive charge, but a quick visit one just to breath in the fresh Tsitsikamma air and get away from lockdown at that stage. One of our stops for the day was the Plaatbos Forest section of the Garden Route (Tsitsikamma) National…

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A Sunday morning drive up the Montagu Pass

The Garden Route has many iconic passes.  Some crossing over mountains and others through gorges.  Some are part of main routes and are accessible to all, some are off the beaten track and only 4x4's are recommended while others are only accessible on foot or bicycle.  The Montagu Pass outside of George is one that would fit in between the first two of the options above.  A dirt road over the Outeniqua Mountains, not a main road but accessible to…

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Driving between Wilderness and George along the back roads

Last Thursday morning I did a presentation at a tourism stakeholder workshop in the Tsitsikamma and after lunch moved on to George for a weekend exhibit.  Having had some time on my hands I decided to veer off the main road and pick up a few Geocaches along Bo-Langvlei Road, the dirt road running behind the lakes between Sedgefield and Wilderness.  The plan wasn't to do the whole road but only the last section of it starting between Bo-Langvlei and…

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Three easy on the pocket George attractions

I don't think George is very high on anybody's list of possible holiday destinations.  Yes, as part of the Garden Route but not standing on it's own.  If that is how you think then I'm going to have to tell you how wrong your thinking is.  Spending Easter Weekend in George showed me in four days that George is actually the ideal family destination.  Beautiful mountains and passes, a stunning coastline, a laid back town atmosphere and not outrageously expensive…

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Looking down the Langkloof from the Potjiesberg Pass

If you drive through the Langkloof from East to West you enter the valley just past Humansdorp and pass towns like Kareedouw, Jobertina, Krakeel, Louterwater, Misgund, Haarlem and Avontuur.  The valley is about 160 km long and the R62 (the road running through the Langkloof) then meets up with the N9 near the town of Uniondale.  Between this intersection and Uniondale travelers will find the Potjiesberg Pass.  The name of the Potjiesberg, directly translated, means little pot and refers to…

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Exploring the old Storms River Pass

I have a special connection with the Tsitsikamma forest.  It is where I go to plug in my soul for a bit of a recharge.  It doesn't even have to be an extended recharge.  Just a couple of minutes sitting in the forest next to a stream taking in the forest with all my senses is enough.  There are various ways to explore the forest with trails being the most effective way to leave everything behind.  One of these "trails", the biggest…

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A quick trip through the Bloukrans River Pass

The Bloukrans River Pass must be one of the most beautiful passes in the Southern Cape and Garden Route areas.  Unfortunately after the 2006 floods part of the road was damaged and rather than repairing it, the road was closed.  Although officially closed it isn't blocked off and there is nothing stopping cars from driving down it so that is just what I did a couple of weeks ago returning to Port Elizabeth from The Crags.  There are sections where…

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Sir Lowry’s Pass lookout

The first sighting of the Cape, False Bay and Table Mountain one gets approaching from the east is from the top of Sir Lowry's Pass on top of the Hottentots Holland Mountains.  The view sight is situated at the top of the pass and about 920 meters above sea level.  The view site gives a beautiful panorama from Gordon's Bay and Strand on the shore of False Bay on the left towards Somerset West and the Helderberg on the right. …

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