South Africa
beauty, you'll never forget

The Hex River Pass lies along the national road, the N1, linking the towns of Worcester and Touws River. It ranks alongside the notorious Kaaimans River Pass as one of the Western Cape’s most dangerous Passes for trucking accidents.

Distance 6,56 km
Gradient average 1:19
Gradient maximum 1:8
Summit 967 m
Surface Tar

It is the long, straight momentum-gathering descent which ends in a sudden and dangerously sharp left-hand bend that seems to be the culprit for most of the accidents along the Hex River Pass. A substantial crash barrier has been built to stop wayward vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic and a strategically placed arrestor bed halfway down the Pass assists trucks experiencing brake failure.

The Hex River Pass is a beautiful route to travel any time of the year, but is a favourite with travellers during the winter months – the entire Hex River Valley is a wonderous sight with snow capped mountains and vineyards covered in the colours of Autumn, brown, yellow, orange and red!

From the high-altitude plateau at the northern start of the Pass, there are outstanding views of the Matroosberg peak, the second highest point in the province. As the long and straight descent begins the road becomes a dual carriageway and at the end, approximately 4.5 km mark, the road heads to the left. This is a long and sweeping bend, creating something of an illusion as it doesn’t straighten out when you expect it to. It curves through more than 100 degrees and then goes into a series of S-bends, before heading back into the south west and a long final plunge down to the floor of the Hex River Valley, where the dual carriageway blends back into two-way traffic.

There is a lovely local story about how the valley received it name, it’s a story about Eliza Meiring. Eliza was very beautiful and wanted by every man in the district back in the late 1700's, she announced that she would only consider marriage to a man who could bring her a Disa flower. The kind that grew at fairly nerve-wracking heights in the mountains. One of her suitors died in pursuit thereof and Eliza suffered a subsequent nervous breakdown. Before committing suicide, she carved the date and her initials into a wooden windowsill, still there today in one of the old homesteads on the original farms.

Hex is 'witch' in Afrikaans and her ghost, in the form of swirling mists over the summits, is when the witch is on the mountain. Eliza was called (die heks van Exeriviervallei) the witch of the Exe River Valley, and in the mouth of the community the name of the Exe River Valley changed to the Hex River Valley.

Thing to do and see

  • Hex River Mountains & Matroosberg Peak
  • Hex River Valley & Vineyards
  • Viewpoints
  • Hex Pass Express Train Ride

Admission

Free to Drive

Best during daylight hours

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