In Road-Tripping to the Cape – Part.1 I ended up with our first glimpses of the spectacular Cape mountains… Well, by 16h30 we were entering one of the world’s most beautiful passes – - – Swartberg Pass – - – (little did we know it at the time)!!! **
- Entrance to the Swartberg Pass
This pass goes through the Groot Swartberge (or directly translated ‘Big Black mountain’)… Yikesy!! We entered from the small town named Prince Albert… We did not have any accommodation booked for this evening & was holding thumbs that we’ll get a place along the way… (Our initial plan was to camp in the Karoo National Park, but by not booking – - – and only 26 camping spots – - -we were those people that got shown in another direction)!!!
We were definitely two very very very small subjects in this enormously breathtaking creation!!! We were awestruck even before we officially entered this pass (stopped regularly for photos along the way!!)
- Right at the entrance we captured our memory!!!
- Entering the Swartberg Pass (HDR)
I researched this pass a bit and found interesting information that I think most of you will find super interesting… I am quoting (for lack of a better description) snippets of this information from the Prince Albert Tourism Website…
“… Prince Albert lies at the entrance to the 27km Swartberg Pass, considered one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world: an untarred road winds to the summit 1,583 metres above sea level in steep zig-zags and sudden switchbacks, with breath-taking views at every turn… “
I also have an HDR of this shot, but my trusty little snapper has a much wider angle than my slr... so I decided to go for the snapper shot - the scale of these majestic mountains seem more impressive!!!
Around yet another corner (HDR)
“… The entrance is through a narrow Cape sandstone kloof where the eye is drawn upwards by the convoluted rock faces to the sparkling sky above. The only sounds are bubbling water, the wind in the trees and birdsong. Several picnic sites near the river provide tranquil spots to stop and absorb the peace and splendour …”
“… The natural characteristics of the Pass are magnificent as are the man-made features. This was Thomas Bain’s last engineering masterpiece …”
A typical view of one of those sudden switchbacks & Zig-zags (HDR)
Looking back on the road we have driven (HDR)
”… Along the way there are relics of an old prison, toll hut, hotel and other interesting historical sites.
Often covered in snow in winter, the mountains’ unique micro-climate supports fynbos and a rich bird population, in contrast with the arid zone flora and fauna outside its cool, shady kloofs. Watch out for black eagles and klipspringers.
The Swartberg Pass is now part of a World Heritage Site …”
Yay, I’ve seen a World Heritage Site!!! That doesn’t happen often!!! In my holiday update I posted a photo of me taking a photo of the landscape… Well, I’m not sure that this is the best that it can look (I will still be experimenting with it until I find the perfect look), but nevertheless, here is my 360 panorama!!! (Let me know if the quality is very bad… for some or other reason it did not want to show my photo & I had to rescale it way smaller Else, I’ll try it in a post of it’s own!!!)
360 Panorama of the Groot Swartberg Landscape!!!
Not long thereafter we reached the summit, called “Die Top” (or in english – The Top)!!!
"Die Top" (HDR)
Close-up of the sign - I loved that the different clubs & organizations all left their "mark" here... so much character!!! (HDR)
Where we came from... (a view to the left) - Certainly the top!!!
Where we are heading... (view to the right) - a much different landscape!!!
We spent almost two hours travelling those 27km’s… (but seeing that we spent so much time taken photos, I am not surprised!!!) We travelled on the exit road out of the pass – still without a place to sleep – until we came across a camp site at the foot of the mountains… We were in luck!!! Seeing that this road is off the beaten track, we were fortunate that there were not many people camping there!!!
Beyond exhausted from the day of long driving hours, excitement over the majestic pass & stress over where we were going to sleep, we set up camp in this dream spot!!!
Our express set-up for dinner!!! (in true South African style)
Our bed for the night!!! A camp-site with a view!!! (HDR)
I this is where I will be leaving you tonight!!! If ever you are fortunate enough to visit this site…. my photos doesn’t even nearly do it justice!!! Thanks for stopping by!!! **