The Van Stadens River is about 35km west of Port Elizabeth and you can either go over or through it to get to the other side.
The river and original pass was named after one of the area’s pioneer farmers, Marthinus van Staden, who was the first person to plot a basic route through the Van Stadens River Gorge in the 1850’s. In 1867 Thomas Bain was brought in by the Cape Government to rebuild the pass so that ox wagon traffic could safely travel through the pass. In 1868, barely a year later, a massive flood washed away major sections of the pass and bridge, which resulted in a complete rebuild. Over the next eighty years the pass saw regular improvements and widening and it was finally tarred between 1950 and 1953. In 1971 the N2 bridge over the gorge was opened. It took 4 years to complete (1967 – 1971) and is the 1st of 5 large concrete bridges along the N2. The bridge is an arch bridge design with a height of 140 m and a span of 198.1 m. The concrete remains of the original drift over the river can still be seen among the rocks and boulders.
Taking the old road through the pass may take a bit longer than flying along the N2, but its really worth the extra time, especially if you stop at the bottom by the old bridge.