Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Robinson Pass
Where? Between Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
When it was originally hewn in 1869 the pass was known as the Ruiterbosch Pass (sometimes also called Ruiter bos or Brandwaghoogte, for obvious reasons), as Ruiterbos is regarded as the start of the pass, named after the commissioner of roads at the time - a Mr Robinson.
Like many of the other myriad passes in this beautiful part of the world, it too began as a bridal path over the Outeniqua Mountains, adapted by Thomas Bain as one of the 26 passes he was to build, tarred later during the 1950s. The pass is right in the heart of a wonderful part of the Little Karoo and the Garden Route. The valley itself is well worth further exploration as it holds an enclave of little farms, guest houses, art galleries and the like.
You can really experience the Robinson Pass by hiking through the beautiful fynbos in the mountains just west of the pass on the Koumashoek Circuit. The trail begins at the summit of the Robinson Pass, is fairly long and includes pretty steep climbs, but the six hours or so that you will spend in and around the valley are well worth the effort. Be prepared for mist though. You can book at the Eight Bells Inn.
The Robinson Pass is incredibly beautiful and a trip through the Outeniqua Mountains will not disappoint, particularly as there are a number of places to pull off the road to drink in the views and take photographs. During wet weather it is sometimes closed because parts of the road tend to subside.
But if you can, take the tarred pass as the sheer magnitude of the mountains and the incredible views both on the coast side, and as you enter Oudtshoorn - the Swartberg Mountains (snowcapped in winter) in the near distance - are without doubt some of the best mountain pass scenes you will find.