Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Michells Pass
Without Michells Pass the existence of Ceres would be questionable. It was only after the pass was completed in 1849 that the town of Ceres came into being at all.
Where? Ceres, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
It is no surprise, as, faced with the incredible banks of mountain east of Cape Town our ancestors must have been more than a little daunted at trying to reach the interior.
Ceres lies in a valley, surrounded by mountains and accessed only via mountain passes, like so many of the valleys in the Western Cape. Ceres in particular has quite a number of passes that reach the town - the Gydo Pass via the Koue Bokkeveld and the R303, Theronsberg Pass over the Waboomsberg, the Karoo Poort Pass from the N1, the R46 from Touwsriver, and Michells Pass via the R46 from the south.
Michells Pass wends its way through some particularly beautiful scenery and is well worth driving for the incredible rock formations that some have described as a moonscape, just outside Ceres. Ceres is extremely popular during the winter months as there is almost a guarantee of snow, sometimes enough for the odd ski.
The pass is well known amongst avid birders, who set up along the slope behind the Tolhuis (a national monument since 1972) and coffee shop, where a footpath takes one into the shade and some pretty dense bush. Here you can hope to see the Protea canary, bar-throated apalis and swee waxbill (yellow-bellied waxbill).
The Ceres Fruit Juices half marathon makes use of Michells Pass as part of its route, following the rather steep climb to the top and then downhill to the finish line.