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Thomas Bain moved to Knysna in 1861, primarily to build the neighbourhood roads and streets. In 1883 he completed the first properly constructed road between George and Knysna, the Seven Passes, of which the Phantom Pass is the final Pass.

Distance 7.4 km
Gradient average 1:38
Gradient maximum 1:10
Elevation Start 205m
Surface Gravel

There is some confusion in respect of which the 7 Passes officially are, but research shows that there are in fact 8 passes. Starting from George in the West they are: Swartrivier Pass; Kaaimansgat Pass; Silver River Pass; Touw River Pass; Hoogekraal Pass; Karatara Pass; Homtini Pass and the Phantom Pass.

Thomas Bain began at the Knysna end, his brother-in-law, Adam de Smit, from the side of George and the road and many passes served as the main route between the two growing towns for 70 years before the N2 was opened in 1952. The Phantom Pass was the first to be built along this road and seemed at least an easier road to construct than the Homtini Pass a few kilometres further up the road.

Although the name may seem mysterious it has nothing to do with ghosts, the Pass is named after the beautiful grey and brown phantom moths which arrive in the area each spring.

The Phantom Pass is an easy to drive Pass and only takes approximately ten minutes. Most of the sharp corners and steepest gradients occur during the first 3 km of the descent. The road is suitable for most vehicles but be aware that there are several smaller roads from local farms and guesthouses which feed into this pass and some of these access points are well hidden amongst the dense foliage.

Thing to do and see

  • Knysna River & Lagoon
  • Mountain Bike Route
  • Possible Antelope & Baboon Sightings
  • Garden Route Scenery


Free to Drive

Best during daylight hours

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