About Constantia Nek

Constantia Nek, also known as Cloof Pass (or at least in the annuls of history), is the low pass over the Table Mountain range linking Constantia to Hout Bay. It’s a busy road with plenty of traffic snaking up and down the single carriageway that serves as a major thoroughfare.

Did you know? The pass was originally called "Clooff Pas" by Jan van Riebeeck when he crossed it on 23 March 1657.

At the Nek’s summit is a large car park, on one side of the road, beneath huge shady pines in which one can park to walk between Constantia Nek and Kirstenbosch. Or head into Orange Kloof, the beautiful protected area above Hout Bay (if you have a permit).

On the opposite side of the road on the summit are a couple of restaurants - Harbour House and La Parada. They weren’t always here. For years this building’s only claim to fame was its position as the oldest restaurant in Cape Town. One complete make-over later, and it’s now two restaurants - one in each wing of the historic wooden building.

The nek originated as wood began to run low on the Cape Town side of the mountain. Loggers soon realised that on the other side of the slopes was wood in abundance - hence the rather unimaginative name for the suburb that emerged a little later - Hout Bay (wood bay).

Getting wood out of Hout Bay, however, meant getting wagons in, and without a road this was impossible. Work began in 1666 on a dirt track that is now a beautiful road running from the wine estates of Constantia over the Nek and into Hout Bay.

The road is a gentle incline up from the Constantia Valley along densely-wooded twists and turns up to the low saddle of the Nek that connects the back side of Table Mountain with the Vlakkenberg and Constantiaberg.

From here the road winds down further wooded curves as the homes of Hout Bay come into view. At the intersection with Imizamo Yethu township, take a right and swing up Suikerbossie Hill (Victoria Road M6), yet another mountain pass, connecting Hout Bay to the Atlantic Seaboard and Llandudno.

Need to Know

WhereConstantia Nek is the low pass over the Table Mountain range linking Constantia to Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Constantia Accommodation, Cape Town

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14 on Klein Constantia

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