Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Shaw's Pass
Also known as Shaw's Mountain Pass, this passage into the Overberg links the Hemel en Aarde valley outside Hermanus to Caledon. It lies on the R320 a little way from Tesselaarsdal, where you will see a turn-off indicating Shaw's Mountain Pass.
Where? Hermanus to Caledon, Western Cape
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Shaw's is a gravel pass, easy to drive, apart from more than a few hairpin bends, and incredibly scenic. Views from the top take in the eastern half of the Hemel en Aarde Valley.
Shaw's Mountain Pass has been more fondly described as one of the Cape's 'little mountain travails', more or less disqualifying it as a major mountain pass. In other words, it is not essential to have an off-road vehicle or bike, and you will not need to consistently study the road, missing out entirely on the views.
Shaws pass was named after lieutenant Colonel William S Shaw, an ex-Indian army officer who settled close to in the Cape in 1839, and who introduced merino sheep to the area. His farm was known as Truyntjiesrivier, but he renamed it Muirton after his family's farm in Scotland.
Whilst out this way you will be able to stop at more than a few wine farms, and the town of Tesselaarsdal, a little village surrounded by cattle, sheep, pig, horse, wild fynbos and lavender farms.
Shaw's Pass is also home to rare Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, found on low mountains and plains where the soil is acidic. Whilst it is the least threatened on a national basis, only 6% of the target 30% is conserved. If you are prepared to stop, sit and wait, you might even catch sight of the Robertson's Blue butterfly, and the landscape will entice all photographers with its variability and beauty.