Rooinek Pass

Rooinek Pass is regarded as 'wild' and certainly not the quickest route across the mountains between Laingsburg and Ladismith

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Rooinek Pass

The Rooinek Pass is popular amongst bikers, who use the pass as part of a trip over the Klein Swartberg Mountains. It is regarded as 'wild' and certainly not the quickest route across the mountains between Laingsburg and Ladismith.

Where? Between Laingsburg and Ladismith, Western Cape

When? Best during daylight hours

How much? Free

Overnight? See Ladismith accommodation, in Western Cape

Perhaps because of the connotations of its name, the Rooinek Pass in the mountains around Laingsburg does look a little sunbleached, and wild (rooinek is the Afrikaans for 'red neck' meaning an English speaking South African, usually of British descent; it alludes to the sunburnt necks of the average British Army soldier who was dressed inappropriately for the weather, and is usually an insult).

The tarred pass is barely distinguishable from the arid, stone encrusted mountains and hills through which it passes, and the only 'life' in evidence appears to be the odd Haworthia wittebergensis (succulent type plants with a preference for the shade that only occur in Namibia and South Africa) with its long, grey-green leaves that grows in rock crevices, only visible when you get off your bike or out of your car to find them.

Despite being difficult to grow because they are sensitive to direct sunlight and need water in winter, the Rooinek Pass is a good place to find them.

The Rooinek Pass is popular amongst bikers, who use the pass as part of a trip over the Klein Swartberg Mountains. It is regarded as 'wild' and certainly not the quickest route across the mountains between Laingsburg and Ladismith (the Seweekspoort is a faster and just as beautiful route).

What you will find is the vast plains of nothingness, space and very little traffic that qualify as the 'middle of nowhere', for those in search of back roads. Parts of the road are still gravel and in August there is a good chance that the higher parts of the pass are covered in snow.

Popular Attractions in and near Rooinek Pass

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Anysberg Nature Reserve


Anysberg is a four-hour drive from the capital city of Cape Town, and is surrounded by the Karoo towns of Montagu, Ladismith, Laingsburg and Touwsrivier. Its idyllic setting makes for spectacular views throughout the reserve. The Anysberg Nature...

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