Garden Route Tourist AttractionsCradock Pass
Where? A route over the Outeniquas north of George, Garden Route.
The Cradock Pass, a route over the Outeniquas north of George, has been described by some as 'trecherous'. The adjective more than aptly describes the steep and often dangerous path that rose quickly to a saddle in the mountains and left visible evidence of broken yokes and the blood and sweat of oxen. The pass had more than its fair share of accidents in the three laborious days it took a farmer and his double team of oxen to travel the route.
That it took only two months to build the original bridle path might go some way to explain the difficulties, but local farmers and traders were desperate for a proper route over the mountains at the time, and urged the local landdrost to do something about it. It was described as an impossible place for horses, let alone wagons.
Cradock Pass is one of over twelve mountain routes and passes into George. The bulk of these start within a kilometre of town, but the Cradock Pass is one the first, and one of the most dangerous. Hard to believe that this was the main route over the mountains for 37 years
By all accounts it was hard work to avoid the span of almost twenty oxen from tipping wagons over, particularly as it approached the mountain top at an almost right angle to the contours, rather than a gentler diagonal sloping route up the hillside. It took three days to get over the pass where today the Montagu Pass, built during the 1840s just east of the Cradock Pass, can be driven in about 15 minutes. The Montagu Pass when it was complete helped farmers back then too, by cutting their journey substantially.
Today there is the challenging Cradock Peak hike that takes you along the route of the old Cradock Pass.
Garden Route Passes
• Attakwaskloof Pass • Bloukrans Pass • Cradock Pass • Homtini Pass • Hoogekraal Pass
• Kaaimans River Pass • Robinson Pass • Swartrivier Pass