Western Cape Tourist AttractionsVanrhynsdorp Pass
The pass forms part of the R27 and snakes and winds the relatively short distance of 9 km up to the summit 825 metres above sea level.
It is a beautifully engineered road and a marvel to drive, the wide bends allowing plenty of neck-craning views of the valley floor below. However, don't crane your neck too far; accidents have been known to happen along this road – in particular the Telkom truck that left the road and overturned, killing seventeen people on the open back, in May 2000.
It's little wonder that Vanrhynsdorp Pass is considered one of the top 10 passes of the Northern Cape.
The R27 is surprisingly straight as you leave Vanrhynsdorp, heading towards the very visible Bokkeveld Mountains. As you begin winding, the pass provides magnificent views, hairpin bends and a great change in landscape as you climb from the arid Knersveld of the valley floor, to the incredible diversity of wild flowers that occur on the Bokkeveld Plateau just after the rains.
Interestingly, the pass straddles the boundary between the Western Cape and Northern Cape. And it is highly likely that you will find yourself stuck behind at least one heavy duty commercial truck. Consider this your chance to drink in the views, rather than attempting to overtake.
The final two hair-raising 180 degree bends, close to the summit of the pass, are the most spectacular for views. Leave photo moments for the the little gravel track that heads off just as the pass levels off at the final bend. The track allows one to snap away right from the edge of the mountain.
Note: there are a variety of ways to spell the name of the pass – Van Rhyn's Pass, Vanrhyns Pass or Vanrhynspass