Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Cogmanskloof Pass
Where? Between Montagu and Ashton, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
It is the same pass of the famous tunnel, of the same name. Actually it is more like a hole through the mountain just as one passes over the river outside Montagu. It is a landmark that tells locals they are 'home' and visitors that they have arrived in the little town.
This same tunnel, hued into the rock, is regarded as the window to the Little Karoo and is where Montagu joins the R62. Cogmanskloof follows the Kingna River, and the original path through here, hued by the KhoiKhoi, who named this path after a chief or clan of the area known as Cogmans or Kogmans, followed the riverbed. The result is that the road was more than often flooded and made virtually impassable.
Nonetheless, it took the death of twelve people who were swept away and drowned along the road in 1867, roughly 150 years after the initial farms became established in the area, before a better road was built. Enter Thomas Bain, already a renowned builder of similar passes.
The famous tunnel was 'dug' using a little dynamite. Initially the road had gone around Kalkoenkrantz, as this section is known, but to follow the river in this way had already proved fatal. The final tunnel was 16 metres long and had a 5 metre high roof.
Glance up at the top of the tunnel before entering and you will see an old fort balanced on the top, constructed from the very same rocks as its surrounds, hence not many people see it. It was built in 1899 by the English, during the Anglo Boer War.