Discovering the Montagu Pass: George to Herold
In 1843 Major Mitchell, Surveyor General of the Cape Colony,
suggested that convict labour be used to build a good road over
the Outeniqua Mountains, the one which was to be called the
Montagu Pass. This was approved by the Hon. John Montagu,
Colonial Secretary, and in 1844 work was started on the new pass.
About 250 convicts tackled the arduous task of building the new road.
They were housed in two camps, the South station and the North Station.
The job was completed at a cost of R71 598-00. In December 1847 the pass
was opened for traffic, but the official opening only took place on
19 January 1948. This was a festive affair, and the Hon. John Montagu
personally opened the pass which was to be called after him.
The passage over the mountains, which used to take a full three days
over the tortuous Cradock Pass, could now be accomplished within three
hours (Today it hardly takes 15 minutes by car).
The engineer in charge of the work was Henry Fancourt White, an
experienced road engineer from Australia, who was imported by
John Montagu for the work. Henry Fancourt White's name is perpetuated
in the lovely estate, Fancourt (his mother's surname) and in the village
of Blanco. In honour of this very capable engineer, the Hon. John Montagu
suggested that the little hamlet which grew up atthe foot of the pass,
be called White or White's Village. This was later changed to the more
euphonious Latin word for 'White' - Blanco.
Swartberg Mountain Pass: Oudtshoorn - Prince Albert
This part is acknowledged as a World Herritage Site by the Cape Nature Conservation.
The crest route will take you along the Swartberg Mountain Range for some 50km.
At last 4x4ers can go to Hell! Not fire and brimstone, but Die Hel, also known
as Gamkaskloof, deep in the Swartberg mountains.
The route consists of two parts that take one day each to complete. On
Day one the convoy traverses a ridge of the Swartberg for 44km, using
old forestry roads in an easterly direction towards the famed Swartberg
pass. Used only by Cape Nature Conservation rangers for many years,
this route offers panoramic views to the north of the Klein Karoo and
the Groot Karoo plain beyond. When winter come, snow can make this trail
Gamkaskloof, where a settlement of farmers, direct descendants of the trekboers
who sought refuge from the world nearly 200 years ago, still live an unhurried
life. The track is full of twists and turns with steep descents and ascents in
and out of lush valleys. This guided tour is peppered with historical anecdotes
garnered from the amiable residents.
George: Oldest Town In Southern Cape
When looking at the roadmap of today an abundance of towns lie on route from
Cape Town to George. Why is it then that George has a longer history than most?
Is it perhaps that early travellers to this region already recognised its beauty
George Hiking Trails
Cradock Pass Day Walk
Guide Johannes Andries
OUteniqua Nature Reserve
Doring River Hiking - Wilderness
Outeniqua Nature Reserve
Garden Route Dam Day Hike
George Peak and Cradock Peak Trails
Outeniqua Nature Reserve
Historical Church Building - The Dutch Reformed Mother Church
This historical church is open to the public to visit. Various facilities on the
premises cater for day visitors and tour groups.
I met Drew de Kock, the congregation manager. He showed me around and we talked
about the rich history of this building.
Mossel Bay - A Day At The Harbour
"Shopping with a difference" are the words greeting you as you enter one of the
large entrances of this old stone building. It has forty stalls under one roof
where entrepreneurs display their goods. My daughter and I took a leisurely
walk down the long passageway
Victoria Bay - A Small Hidden Bay
Victoria Bay is approximately 8kms from George and 6kms from Wilderness traveling
along the N2 between these two towns. This lovely bay is also referred to as
"Vic's Bay" by some people.
It has a relaxed beach setting and is almost enclosed by cliffs.
Garden Route Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Garden is situated close to George yet it is far enough from traffic
noise to hear the sounds of birds and insects. You see a wide variety of indigenous
trees, beds of flowers, fynbos and succulent plants. Small signboards inform the
visitor of plant names and other intere
Oudtshoorn: Ostrich Capital of the World
Safari Ostrich Show Farm
Meerkat Magic: Walk with wild Meerkats
Cango Wildlife Ranch
Wilgewandel Holiday & Animal Touch Farm: Ride a Camel