The Outeniqua Pass is a mountain pass in the Western Cape of South Africa. It connects Knysna and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn. It was constructed between 1943 and 1951 and is characterized by gentle southern sleeps and steep drops on the north side down into the valleys.
‘Outeniqua’ is said to be derived from a Khoisan tribe that once lived in these mountains and means “they who bear honey”. Rock paintings from the Khoisan people can still be found in the area.
My brother and I drove through this pass on our way to the Cango wildlife ranch from Knysna. We stopped at a couple of places along the pass to take some pictures of the stunning scenery we were driving through.
Some of our stopping points included Cradock Peak at 1578 m and George Peak at 1370 m. We could only stop at appointed lookout spots as the road was quite narrow and it was too dangerous to stop anywhere else.
As we drove I got to take in the beauty of the deep gorges and ravines and the high cliffs that we passed. It was a hot and sunny day so we had a clear view of the mountains and valleys that stretched along this pass. This is definitely not a road to be rushed through, it has to be enjoyed and appreciated.
While driving along the pass and next to the low stone walls it was quite hard to imagine the working conditions of its construction in the 1940’s.
Construction of this pass started in October 1942, and the workers were Italian POW’s. Construction happened at a slow pace as most of the labourers were musicians and artists and not accustomed to hard labour. But setting its construction aside this is a beautiful pass and the scenery makes the drive more than worthwhile.