Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Piekenierskloof Pass
Where? Citrusdal, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Piekenierskloof Pass is one of the most scenic and easy to drive passes in the Western Cape, with views from the summit that are worth stopping for.
The Piekenierskloof Pass began its life as Grey's Pass after Sir George Grey, governor of the Cape at the time it was built by Thomas Bains. Later, it was renamed Piekenierskloof as it had become known in the interim (something about pikemen travelling over the top in an effort to capture a Khoi chief who had provoked the wrath of the Dutch who were settled at the Cape, but was never caught).
Today's pass is a modern-day road, tarred, with wide shoulders and room enough to pass other traffic. Other than the steepness of this section of the N7 as it rises over the Olifants River Mountains into the Cederberg, one is not even aware that one is one a pass. But there are pretty impressive views over the valley below from the summit.
In the olden days, the track over the mountain was used by wagons. However, the crossing was difficult enough for wagons to be dismantled and carried over the steep bits to the other side, quite an endeavour.
When Thomas Bain began building a proper pass to replace the wagon track over the Olifants River Mountains he was not as famous as he was to become, and the pass was the first for which he was principally responsible. He chose a different route from the one used by wagon drivers. Hence, today's beautiful descent in a series of twisting curves.