Burke's Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Springbok, Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsBurke's Pass

Where? Burke's Pass takes one through the mountains south of Springbok, in the Northern Cape, to Kamieskroon.

Overnight? Accommodation in Springbok, in Northern Cape

Burke's Pass takes one through the mountains south of Springbok, in the Northern Cape, to Kamieskroon - the tiny dorp that is more NG Church than it is town. The beauty of the bare granite against red soil, and the stubbly yellow grass and shrubs lining the pass, an indication of the heat on the N7.

This is Namaqualand. Dry it might be for most of the year, but it rains here in winter, and in spring it flowers. Everywhere.

Burke's pass is tarred, one of the few passes in the Northern Cape that is as easy for sedans to navigate. It is a popular pass as a result, not only for the spring flowers but also as passage to the Namaqua National Park just west of the N7 - to reach the park one must peal off the N7 not far from Burke's Pass.

There is an interesting story behind the history of the pass. On the other side of Kamieskroon is the historical Burke family farm, settled by the Burke's at the time when Lord Charles Somerset was governor of the Cape.

Instrumental in bringing the 1820 settlers over from Britain and Ireland, Somerset settled a group of them around Clanwilliam. Two of these settlers were the Burke brothers, Jonathan Lewis and William Roland. One was a builder, the other a carpenter.

Their wanderings further north resulted in their building the very first NG Church in the Namaqualand, near Bowesdorp (on the N7 just north of Kamieskroon)- one built the building, the other did the woodwork. There were few builders in the area and Jonathan was immediately put to work on passes and roads, particularly as copper at the time was transported between Springbok and the coast at Hondeklip Baai.

Jonathan was to build a number of passes in the area's mountains, including Burke's Pass - named after him. The money he made from the work, he used to buy the farm, now owned by the sixth generation Burke. Agama Tented Camp, a bush camp, allows people to visit and stay on the farm.

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