Over the aeons the Tradouw River (a branch of the Buffeljachts River) has cut a ravine through the Langeberg Mountains with such steep sides that humans could only pass it on foot. This ravine became known as Tradouwskloof, the name Tradouw being derived from the Khoisan words “tarras” (path) and “doas” (woman) – “footpath of the women”
Engineered by master builder Thomas Bain in the 1860’s to create an easier access from farmers farming to the north of Tradouwskloof to the trading opportunities at Port Beaufort, the Pass was built by convicts who lived in two prisoner stations on the pass itself.
As you drive through the pass if you can tear your eyes away from the magnificent views and amazing engineering, keep your eyes peeled for several historical and natural landmarks.
As you drive over the Andre Uys bridge look out for Witbrug (White Bridge). Initially a stone bridge named Lettie’s Bridge after John Barry’s wife, which was washed away in 1875, this teak bridge has survived since 1879 and is a National Monument.
The Drupkelder (dripping cave)is at the highest point of the of the past: the ceiling looks like a sponge and it drips continuously.
WIRE BASKET TECHNIQUE
Look out for these wire baskets filled with stones used to build up and protect the walls. Commonly used now – this was the first time this retention technique was used.
Ghrokfontein is a small stream (with a beautiful little waterfall in the rainy season) running down the mountainside with a lovely picnic site under trees on its bank, look out for the pikniekbos sign!