The Garcia’s Pass connects the farming town of Riversdale with the charming inland Karoo town of Ladismith. Back in the day of the 1820 Settlers, the only route through the Langeberg Mountains was via the Plattekloof Pass, something of a detour for farmers who wanted to reach Riversdale and subsequently Mossel Bay for trade. Garcia’s Pass and its sister Pass, the Tradouw Pass, proved very effective in extending trade during these pioneer days.
Garcia’s Pass, a rather foreign name for these parts, was named after a Mr AH Garcia, the Civil Commissioner of Riversdale at the time. He realised that by following the course of the then Kafferskuils River Gorge, now called the more politically correct Goukou River, one could find a path through the mountains. In 1868, under the orders of Garcia, a bridal path was constructed by a few convicts. A few years later Thomas Bain was called upon to construct a proper road, The Garcia’s Pass, which took four years to complete.
The Pass offers a beautifully scenic drive, with mostly easy gradients, via the Garcia Nature Reserve to Riversdale. Approaching from the north, travellers will head south toward Riversdale and shortly after passing through the initial cleft in the mountains is the Old Toll House on the left, recently restored and declared a National Monument. Access to the Toll House, make a quick stop to view this old building from 1877.
Another stop can be made at the start of the Crystal Kloof Hiking Trail where, if you lu8cky enough, you may spot a charming little waterfall. There are several lay-by places along the Pass which provide beautiful views and remnants of the original stonewall built by Bain is another lovely feature of this historic Pass.
Free to Drive
Best during daylight hours
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