Sir Lowrys Pass, Cape Helderberg

Early travellers would not have had an easy time of attempts to negotiate the Hottentot’s Holland Mountain range, which stretches along the eastern side of Somerset West and Gordons Bay.

The summit provides one with the most awe-inspiring backdrops in the Western Cape - on a clear day you can view the range all the way from the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Today, Sir Lowry’s Pass allows easy passage across this daunting natural barrier.

The beauty of this pass, often shrouded in mist and rain, more than makes up for the unsynchronised traffic lights that grace the N2’s tardy passage through Somerset West and around Gordons Bay, invariably resulting in bumper-to-bumper snarl-ups and quick sales amongst the posse of self-employed salesmen who dart in amongst cars with the latest sunglasses, hats, cell phone chargers and the like.

But Sir Lowry’s Pass is a lot more than a route across a formidable mountain range. It is also a haunt for bird watchers and nature lovers and the car park, on the western side of the N2 as one approaches the top of the pass, provides a perfect stop to explore the area. The mountain fynbos is fairly accessible here and one can take three to four hours to explore the mountain side and the lower areas where streams become densely vegetated and provide perfect cover for birds.

The town side of Sir Lowry’s Pass has some truly awesome views over False Bay, whilst over the other side of the mountain one enters a beautiful valley that is home to forests, orchards, fruit, flowers and vineyards - the Elgin Valley. In spring this part of the world is a display of blossoming fruit trees and heavy with grapes on the vine

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