Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Schoemans Poort
Schoemans Poort links Oudtshoorn with the Cango Caves, a popular tourist attraction of the Klein Karoo. Despite its frequent use, the pass suffers something of a Cinderella complex, paling by comparison with its contemporaries the Swartberg Pass, Seweweeks Pass, and Meiringspoort.
Where? Shoemans Poort links Oudtshoorn with the Cango Caves, Karoo
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
The Swartberg Pass links Cango Caves to the little Karoo village of Pince Albert and is just north of Schoemans Poort, if you remain on the R328. To the west, near Ladismith, lies Seweweeks Poort, whilst the meandering Meiringspoort links De Rust with Klaarstroom – three incredible passes that carve their way through the Swartberg.
One can understand that the shorter and less majestic Schoemans Poort might not get a mention when in the presence of these three. Yet it has a beauty of its own.
Schoemans Poort starts at Schoemans Hoek, which you reach as you head north of Oudtshoorn towards Cango Caves. This portion of the route is a series of farms and tourist attractions clamouring for the attention of those intent on reaching the Cango Caves in one piece. The scenery changes as you head into the poort where there is only rocky cliff to either side.
A series of twists and turns later and the route crosses the Grobbelaars River (picnic spot to your left, should the desire for lunch in a quiet spot grab you). This is not the only river crossing, although the second is as the road begins to climb as if it were a pass, rather than the poort for which it is named.
Watch out for buses.
And look out for the Haworthia that closely resembles miniature aloes, and grows among scrub and rocks on the steep south-facing slopes.