Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Bainskloof Pass
One of a series of passes that cut through the mountain that seal Cape Town and its surrounds from the interior, Bainskloof Pass is also one of the Western Cape's most scenic routes.
Where? Connects Ceres and Wellington, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
To drive its bends and turns brings one right up against the Limietberg Mountain with incredible views out over the Wellington Valley. Later there are views onto the river and across the valley on the other side.
Consistent viewpoints along the pass allow space to pull over. Today Bainskloof (sometimes also written as Bain's kloof) is a national monument and regarded by those who travel it as the scenic, off the beaten track route to Wolseley and Tulbagh, or Ceres.
The pass is set high in the mountains on Route 303 between Wellington and Ceres. Completed in 1853 the 30km pass was built by Andrew Geddes Bain - possibly the country's most famous road engineer, despite having had no formal engineering training (he and his son Thomas collectively built over 30 passes in the country).
The original dirt road pass was intended for horse drawn carriages and carts, rather than cars, yet the eastern side of the pass has remained pretty much as it was, despite the changes made to the western side.
One wonders how it must have felt on horse back on some of the narrow parts of the road, with sheer drops down the side slopes of the pass. Trucks on the road are few for if they get stuck there is nowhere for them to turn around, and they can find themselves stuck here for hours.
Most of the walks in the Limietberg Nature Reserve start from the top of Bainskloof pass, and there is a fairly popular campsite, known as Tweede Tol, roughly 16km along the pass from Wellington at which you can overnight.
For more info about the Bainskloof Pass see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
• The Bainskloof Pass - A Visitors Perspective
• Rock-hopping in Bainskloof.