Said to be South Africa's first mountain pass, Molteno Pass links Beaufort West to Loxton, in effect joining the oldest town in the area to the Northern Cape.
It lies in the Nuweveld Mountains on R381, completed in 1881 and named after the first Prime Miinister of the Cape, Sir JC Molteno, who also represented Beaufort West in parliament.
This part of the country may mistakenly bring to mind images of straight roads and little to entertain other than the odd hill and the hope that the Three Sisters present themselves with some haste. Actually the opposite is true. Within the vicinity of the Molteno Pass is the Karoo National Park and Victoria West as well as the historical town of Beaufort West, all of which are worth a visit.
Beaufort West is not only the oldest town in the Central Karoo, but it also has a lovely selection of places to stay, many of them located off the main road. The Karoo National Park, just outside of Beaufort West, is beautiful. Tucked in away from the N2 that passes fairly close to the gate, the park is often used for overnight stays. Their night drives are well worth the effort but be warned, you may want to stay more than one night as the quiet and the night skies grow on you.
Victoria West is a gorgeous little Karoo town, tucked off the N1 by some 60 kilometres, but worth the detour - if you cannot stay there at least drive through. The main road through town from the Loxton side, via the Molteno Pass in other words, is filled with a row of gorgeous little homes in Cape Cottage or Victorian-house style, lived in by locals.
destinations / attractions in the western cape