Groot River Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route in the Garden Route, South Africa.

Garden Route Tourist AttractionsGroot River Pass

Where? Grootrivier Pass, Route R102 between Plettenberg Bay and Jeffreys Bay

Overnight? Stay in Plettenberg Bay, in Garden Route

Between Plettenberg Bay and Jeffreys Bay lies the R102. It leaves the N2 and winds its way down into Nature's Valley and then back out again, crossing a huge coastal plateau in the process.

To facilitate the crossing of this plateau, master engineer Thomas Bain designed and built two passes. The first of these is known as the Groot River, or Great River Pass, named after the river that runs through Nature's Valley.

The other, Bloukrans Pass, navigates the climb out of the valley, via the Bloukrans River and, because it is not terribly well maintained, is often closed.

From the N2, Route 102 heads down Kalanderkloof. The route is a series of twists, turns and hairpin bends, to either side impenetrable forest, its river rendered almost invisible by the density of ancient Yellowood trees and mossy old man's beard. These Afro-montane forests of the Tsitsikamma have the highest tree diversity of any of the world's temperate forests, with nearly 600 different tree species.

The views of the ravine and the well maintained road mean that the descent is enjoyable.

Roughly a kilometre before the foot of the pass is a giant yellowwood tree called Bernardo's yellowwood, after the forestry worker, Hendrik Bernardo, who prevented the tree from being felled.

Before you know it you are at the bottom with a right turn into the village of Nature's Valley. The Otter Trail ends here at De Vasselot Nature Reserve; a perfect space to stay awhile, for it is a sedate way of life, the only hurry the gentle sound of bird call and the river as it makes its way to the wild beach beyond.

At the foot of the pass is a little bridge across the Groot River with a picnic site on the east of the bridge.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Plettenberg Bay

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