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The Van Der Stel Pass links the towns of Bot Rivier and Villiersdorp in the Western Cape and is mainly used by the Farmers in the area. It is fairly long Pass at 17 km long, but the gravel road is well maintained and suitable for all vehicles.

Distance 17,1 km
Gradient average 1:146
Gradient maximum 1:6
Summit 198 m
Surface Gravel

Surprisingly the Pass was not named after Simon van der Stel, but Willem Adriaan van der Stel, Governer of the Cape Colony, which at the time served as little more than a way station for the Dutch East India Company, between 1699 and 1707. He allegedly had a hunting lodge in the area.

The Bot Rivier Valley is extensively farmed and from early on travellers will pass farms such as Hoekplaas (Corner Farm) and Klipdrift (Stony-drift) with plenty more fruit and wine farms all the way to the end. The first half of the Pass has at least four really sharp hairpin bends which makes for a slow drive, but the road traverses over a number of ravines and a slow climb is worth the while.

The bulk of the Houwhoek Mountains dominate the scenery while the road loops, all the while maintaining course with the river. The road travels further to the farms Eik en Walle (Oak and Walls) and Goedvertrou (Good Faith) and about 2 km further you will pass the Kanaan Farm where the road turns sharply to cross the Bot River over a very narrow concrete bridge.

Near the summit, the road swings away towards the north-west and ends adjacent to the farm Welgemoed after another 5.5 km’s from the summit the road becomes tar. Continue straight on to intersect with the R43, about 8 km’s further, from there a right turn will take you to the Theewaterskloof Dam and Villiersdorp where you also have the option of going to Franschoek via the R44 and the oldest pass in South Africa - the Franschoek Pass.

Thing to do and see

  • Theewaterskloof Dam
  • Fruit, Wine, & Horse Farms
  • Bot River
  • Houwhoek River
  • Houwhoek Mounatins
  • Viewpoints
  • Aasvoëlkop (Vulture Peak)


No Admission Fee

Best during daylight hours

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