Swartberg Pass, Little Karoo
The 27km Swartberg Pass is considered one of the finest mountain passes in the world: an untarred road that winds to the summit 1583 metres above sea level in steep zigzags and sudden switchbacks with breathtaking views at every turn.
The road is supported in places by hand-packed stone walls, a trademark of brilliant road engineer Thomas Charles Bain. Along the way there are relics of an old prison, toll hut and other intersting historical sites. Often covered with snow in winter, the mountain’s unique micro-climate supports fynbos and a rich bird life in contrast with the arid zone flora and fauna outside its cool shady kloofs. The Swartberg Pass was declared a National Monument in its Centenary year, 1988.
The Swartberg Mountains are a magnificent backdrop to the village of Prince Albert. Once considered almost impenetrable, there are now three major gateways – the Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort and Seweweekspoort - linking the Great Karoo with the Little Karoo and the coast. Meiringspoort and the Swartberg Pass are almost on Prince Albert’s doorstep, and with their awesome beauty and many opportunities for recreation, should be on every visitor’s itinerary.
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Entry to the poort is via Klaarstroom, 55 kms east of Prince Albert en route to Oudtshoorn and the coast. Hardy plants cling to the precarious rockfaces while birds, baboons and smaller fauna abound in the protected kloofs and crevices. Among the most scenic spots is the waterfall tumbling into a dark pool ... more information
The Swartberg Nature Reserve lies in the Oudtshoorn district between the Great Karoo and Little Karoo, bordered by the Gamka River in the west and the Uniondale / Willowmore road in the east. The Swartberg Reserve encompasses 121,000 heactares of mostly state-owned land. Gamkapoort ... more information