Western Cape Tourist AttractionsGifberg Pass
Where? The Gifberg Pass connects Vanrhynsdorp to the top of the Matsikamma Mountain, Cape West Coast, Western Cape
The Gifberg Pass connects Vanrhynsdorp to the top of the Matsikamma Mountain, roughly 20 km south of Vanrhynsdorp.
The pass breasts a flat-topped mountain called Maskam that forms part of the Matzikamma mountain range (Maskam lies at its eastern end, whilst Giberg is on its western flank). Matzikamma means the 'mountains that yield water' and it is not unusual to travel the pass in rain and thick mist, and to find that at the top is also rain and thick mist.
Driving in a 4x4 vehicle, then, is an easier way to do it even though two of the steepest sections are tarred to make it easier for those who drive up in a sedan. Even in a Landy, though, you'll need to keep your wits about you on the tarred bits.
Few people drive the pass, other than farmers. It's considered seriously 'off the beaten track'. But if you're a rock art fundi or wild flower seeker, you may well find yourself at the top.
Follow the Gifberg (derived from the gifboom or poison tree) Road out of Vanrhynsdorp. The road heads only up over the Gifberg Pass, well known for its many San rock art paintings.
The ideal overnight is the Vanrhynsdorp Caravan Park, which is right on the road that crosses the Troe Troe River and takes you 16 km up the pass, due south out of town. As you begin driving along the route you will notice the pass looming ahead of you and see the road as it snakes its way up the steep mountain.
Near the top of the pass is a little concrete water trough at which one can fill water bottles, and then a ways further up is what looks like a stone cairn surrounded by a fence, but which, on closer inspection, is an old stone cooker, or oven, built in 1917 to provide road builders with bread every day.
Up at the top is Gifberg Farm, one of the biggest rooibos producers in the area.