Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Bothmaskloof Pass
Where? Between Malmesbury and Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Sometimes also known as Bothmanskloof, the pass takes one over and down the Kasteelberg, descending into the unusually fertile Riebeeck valley, home of olive groves, fields of wheat and grape vines that give rise to particularly good wines – this is the home of Allesverloren and Kloovenburg, to name but two of the wine estates in the area.
At the top of the pass you will notice a particularly deep, almost vertical, cut through the neck, some 18 metres deep, designed to make the steep gradient at this point safe for those using the pass.
Just past the summit is a memorial to Pieter Cruythoff who, in setting off for the mythical land of Monomotapa with Pieter Meerhoff, the surgeon (they were to get as far as Namibia), happened upon Kasteelberg and the Riebeeck Valley and named their beauty in honour of Jan van Riebeeck, administrator of the Dutch East India Company and founder of the Cape Town.
At the base of the stone tablet memorial was a bronze plate, stolen for use elsewhere, but, as if to make up for the offense, the wine farm bordering the pass has named their wines after Cruythoff (even if most of the wines are destined for the Netherlands as a result).
Cruythoff and Meerhoff saw quaggas, rhinos and black wildebeest in the valley.
The sister towns of Riebeeck-Kasteel and Riebeeck West lie close to one another. Both have attracted artists and a couple of celebrities. They are close enough to Cape Town to serve as weekend getaways – hence the restaurants, antique shops, art galleries and accommodation options.