A short drive from Laingsburg is the low-lying mountain pass known as Seweweeks Poort Pass (Seven Weeks Pass). It is possibly the most beautiful stretch of gravel road in South Africa.
|Summit||2325 m (Mountain Peak)|
Seweweeks Poort was an engineering feat achieved in 1862 with the help of Thomas Bain and a team of convicts. Folklore holds many stories on the origin of the name given to the Pass. One story is that it took mounted police seven weeks to escort a gang of banished highway robbers from Barrydale through the Pass and another is that a farmer got lost in the mountains for seven weeks. Other stories include that of a gang of brandy smugglers travelled for seven weeks through the Pass from Beaufort West and that a stock thief hid in the mountains for seven weeks. Yet another explanation is that the Pass was named after a missionary man, Reverend Louis Zerwich. Locals could not pronounce his name correctly and it became “Sewenweeks”.
Whatever the reason, this beautiful Pass is a “must-see for travellers in the area. It is a joy to drive or ride with easy gradients as it twists and turns as it follows the bends of the Huis River through the Swartberg Mountains. Drive through the Pass during December and you may get to see the Protea Aristata, a very rare Protea thought to have ben extinct until rediscovered here during the 1950’s.
The Pass falls entirely within the Towerkop and Swartberg Nature Reserves and is also a certified Unesco World Heritage Site. Seweweekspoort Pass is considered one of Mountain Passes South Africa’s Top 20 all-time favourite roads and offers the route offers shade and cool mountain streams to the traveller after the hot, arid plains of the Karoo. Picnic sites near to these streams give you the chance to fill your water bottle or to let the children paddle.
No Admission Fee
Travel during daylight hours
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