Part of the scenic beauty of the Garden Route, is the mountains and mountain passes to the Klein Karoo. Mostly tarred, but some with rustic gravel roads, like the Swartberg Pass, considered to be one of the most spectacular and breathtaking passes in Africa - a tribute to Thomas Bain, who built it.

The Swartberg Nature Reserve lies in the Oudtshoorn district between the Great and Little Karoo and encompasses 121 000 ha of mostly state-owned land. The nearest towns are Oudtshoorn (± 40 km), De Rust (± 5 km) and Prince Albert (± 5 km).

The road to Gamkaskloof, "The Hell", is accessed from the peak of the Swartberg Pass. Gamkaskloof was for more than a century the home of a self-sufficient farming community, but now visitors can experience its unique cultural heritage protected within the Swartberg Nature Reserve while they overnight in one of the restored houses.

Then there's Meiringspoort, also in the Swartberge and one of the more spectacular routes between the Central and Klein Karoo, snaking along the river beneath towering red rock cliffs for some 27 km.

Most of the Garden Route is overlooked by the Outeniqua Mountains. Various passes cross the mountains and worth travelling for its scenic pleasures.

Outeniqua Mountains

The old road between George and Knysna (still in use) offers a 82-km very beautiful scenic drive. Known as the "Passes Route" it links various small settlements and forest stations.

The Outeniqua Mountain Pass between George and Oudtshoorn is considered to be one of the world's most beautifull railway passes. If you cannot do it by rail, the road linking the towns will expose you to some of the scenic beauty of the area.

The road from Knysna to Avontuur leads through dense forests via the Prince Alfred's Pass into the fruit-producing valley of the Langkloof.

There are also number of other lesser known passes to cross which will definitely enhance your visit to the Graden Route area - of which the Old Bloukrans Pass at Storms River is probably the the most scenic.


Garden Route and Klein Karoo Mountain Passes Map: