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LOCAL TIME: 09:53 am | Tuesday, 25 February
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Bainskloof Pass, Wellington to Ceres

Bainskloof PassThe Bain’s Kloof Pass, built in the 1850s, is one of South Africa’s finest scenic passes. It was built over the Limiet Mountains to connect Ceres and the Tulbagh Valley to Wellington and Paarl.

From Wellington, one passes the Napier Winery as well as the Welvanpas Farm, with its excellent single track MTB route and wine tasting options. They also have a play area for children.

Other points of interest along the pass are the Hawequa State forest, which straddles the crest of the pass, and the magnificent stone formations such as Bells Rock and Dacres Rock, an enormous rock formation that overhangs the road.

Bainskloof Pass Rock PoolsA little further along from these formations is the starting point of some of the more famous hikes in the area, with names like Rockhopper, Bobbejaans Rivier and Happy Valley.

Hikers enjoy the clear pools along the Witte River, that meanders through the pass, as well as the mountain fynbos, particularly spectacular in spring and early summer.

There are picnic and viewing sites along the pass, so take your time.

The pass has an interesting history. Built in 1853 by Andrew Geddes Bain, a Scottish settler, who had not had any formal engineering training, soon after he had finished Mitchell’s Pass in 1848.

Bainskloof PassBain moved his crew up to the new site, where the Witte River cut into the Limiet Mountains. He had a village built to accommodate the ‘highwaymen, more accustomed to blasting and blazing’ than the civilised life down below.

His workers were mainly convicts, doing their time in these mountains, and they were accommodated in special barracks.

To this Bain added a hospital, kitchens, stables, blacksmiths’ and carpenters’ quarters, a church, a school and a recreational area. There was a permanent labour force of about 400 men, who worked on the 18-kilometre-long Bain’s Kloof Pass. They completed it in 4 years.

Bainskloof PassBain is recognised for his contribution to palaeontology as well as his uncanny engineering skill, due to the fossils unearthed and preserved during the construction of this and other roads.

How to get here: Wellington is an easy 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. Turn off the N1 towards Paarl and take the R44 over the Bain’s Kloof Pass.

From Ceres, take the R44, then the R46, then the R310 over Bainskloof Pass to Wellington.

More info on the town of Ceres More info on the Breede Valley area



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