Tradouw pass

tradouw pass barrydale

Tradouw Pass


Known variously as the Tradoux and Tradouw Pass, as well as ‘the way of the woman’, this masterpiece of road engineering was completed in 1873 by the brilliant Thomas Bain. This is the same man who built the Swartberg Pass (Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert), the Seweweekspoort Pass just off the R62 between Ladismith and Calitsdorp, the Robinson Pass (from Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay); Garcia’s Pass (from Riversdale to Ladismith), Meiringspoort, the Seven Passes Road (after the number of passes along the route from George to Knysna, ending in the Homtini Pass near Knysna), the Cogmans Kloof Pass between Ashton and Montagu and the Koo Pass near Montagu.  Most of these passes are within day-trip range from Barrydale, making the Karoo Art Hotel the ideal home-base to explore a huge number of historic scenic passes built by Thomas Bain.

Renowned for its wild flowers in spring, clusters of blazing orange aloes in late autumn and waterfalls that appear during the winter months, the Tradouw Pass is situated in the heart of the Cape’s ancient folded mountains. It links Barrydale with Swellendam, the historic Cape Dutch-era town located on the N2.  There are a number of natural swimming holes in the Tradouw River in this pass, making ideal swimming spots in majestic natural surroundings in summer time!  Locals come tap pure mountain water here regularly to drink at home: the fountain of eternal youth?

The Tradouw Pass provides a truncated loop back to Cape Town if you do not have the time to head all the way east to the Cango Caves at Oudtshoorn and the Garden Route.

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