Garden Route Tourist AttractionsHoogekraal Pass
Where? Hoogekraal Pass lies more or less midway on the 7 Passes route between George and Knysna, Garden Route
The Hoogekraal Pass lies more or less midway on the 7 Passes route between George and Knysna. Back when it was constructed in the 1880s this route involving seven passes was the only route between George and Knysna. It was to remain so for almost 70 years before the N2 through the Wilderness replaced it with a faster option.
All of the passes on this route are national monuments.
Hoogekraal Pass begins at Hoogekraal Farm where Mastro Dario, more commonly known as the 'salami maestro', is based. Their charcuterie includes coppa, pancetta tesa, bresaola, salsiccia and cotechini, all made without the use of nitrite or preserving liquids. The pork is from a nearby closed-circuit farm where pigs are born, reared and slaughtered, without the use of hormones, antibiotics or stress.
The farm doesn't often have visitors and, whilst they probably will not reveal their recipe secrets, they do welcome the odd wayward foodie who wants to taste the products and breathe the fresh farm air.
One can access Hoogekraal Pass from the N2 and drive it on its own, but it is more beautiful to do all seven passes as one drive (it should take you a couple of hours). Conversely join up with Hoogekraal Pass and drive it, and the subsequent three passes, to Knysna.
From Hoogekraal farm the road descends rather sharply, sweeping around the first hill to follow the Hoogekraal River. All of the passes require slow driving because of the numerous twists and turns. The views are beautiful.
The Hoogekraal bridge, over the river of the same name, allows two-way traffic (there is a geocache on the bridge, for those who are interested). Once over the bridge that is similar in style to both the Kaaimansgat and Silver River bridges the pass road re-enters the thick vegetation of indigenous forest and begins to climb steadily up the hill before submitting at the Geelhoutbos timber mill.
After Hoogekraal Pass is the Karatara Pass.
Garden Route Passes
• Attakwaskloof Pass • Bloukrans Pass • Cradock Pass • Homtini Pass • Hoogekraal Pass
• Kaaimans River Pass • Robinson Pass • Swartrivier Pass