Western Cape Tourist AttractionsBiedouw Valley Pass
Where? +/- 45 km from Clanwilliam, Biedouw Valley, Cederberg, Western Cape
Not a difficult pass to drive, the Biedouw Valley Pass is, nonetheless, one of the most beautiful roads through the Cederberg. It lies on the north eastern edge of the Cederberg Mountains off the road to Wupperthal.
Despite being called a 'pass' this gravel road that begins with a left off the road between Wupperthal and Clanwilliam is little more than an accompaniment of the Biedouw River through Enjo Nature Farm and beyond.
It is only the farmers who live here, those here to see the spring flowers, and visitors to Enjo Nature Farm who use the Biedouw Valley Pass.
At the head of the valley it comes to a dead end for most of the year as the river crossing is almost impossible, until around October. Since the valley is at its scenic height between July and September (the spring flowers are superb) few visitors manage it from the Northern Cape end of the Biedouw Valley Pass.
Leave Clanwilliam on the R364, a beautifully smooth drive on tar that takes one over the Pakhuis Pass and then right, just beyond the Englishman's Grave, at the turn-off for Wupperthal and the Biedouw Valley.
The road is now gravel as you head down the Hoek se Berg Pass. On one particularly steep, sharp corner the road is concrete to make the drive an easy one.
You will pass through a couple of gates, but each of these has a cattle grid making it a seamless pass for vehicles.
Once down in the valley below take a left just after crossing the bridge at Mertenshof farm (a popular overnight for bikers, who make use of the campsite here). Some 13 km later and you arrive at the western start of the Biedouw Valley Pass.
There are two farm gates to open and then close again behind you. One for Middelplaas and the other for Enjo Nature Farm. Enjo Nature Farm is a beautiful escape from it all. They have a few chalets, one of which is isolated and off the grid. The others are frequently visited by the farm's dogs, cats and horses, whilst the clear skies, fairly warm winters and the flowers make it a great space in which to unwind.
The pass proper begins with the first crossing of the Biedouw River. This low concrete bridge, often submerged with the swollen river, it is not a difficult crossing.
The road gently begins to descend as it follows the river north-east, following a few sharp corners that are not difficult as one can only maintain about a 30 km/hr speed.
The final river crossing is almost exactly the same as the first. Unless your car is particularly low-slung, you will easily manage the crossing. Just under 10 km later one reaches Uitspankraal farm, the confluence of the Biedouw and Doring rivers, and the end of the road.
The road on the other side of the river is a rough one that heads up Uitspankraal Pass. Even if you manage the river crossing, you will need a 4x4 to continue into the Northern Cape. There is no bridge and for most of the year a little rowing boat gets you across. If you've a motorbike, there is a little pont.
The river can be deceptive. It may look shallow, but the deeper section is halfway across. Walk it before trying to drive it.