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Trip Swartsberg Pass

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
191 posts
8 reviews
5 helpful votes
Trip Swartsberg Pass

Dear all,

Coming Christmas season I will travel with my family through the Western Cape. We will stay 2 nights at Buffelsdrift Gamelodge (little north of Oudsthoorn along the R328). After Buffelsdrift we will continue our tour to Plettenberg Bay where we have our next stop for some nights.

However, we heard great stories / read great reviews about Swartberg Pass.

I'm thinking about driving Swartberg Pass up north to the top, turn around again, drive back to Oudsthoorn and continue our drive to Plettenberg Bay. This since driving the pass all the way to Prince Albert and continue our drive to Plettenberg via Klaarstroom and Uniondale might be ride which is too long for us (kids are 9 &11 y/).

My questions:

1. Is my suggested routing ok? How long does it take to drive from our Gamelodge up to the top?

2. Which part of the Swartberg Pass is nicest to drive and from a scenery point of view? The way up north to the top or the way down to Prince Albert?

Looking forward to your reply and thanks in advance!

Kindest regards, Roger

Ljubljana, Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Slovenia
Level Contributor
24 844 posts
61 reviews
51 helpful votes
1. Re: Trip Swartsberg Pass

Driving down the slope always offers better views. But on the way up there is Cango Caves which might be of interest to your kids. Personally I would drive down to Prinz Albert as there is a place with the best ice cream in that part of South Africa. A couple of words and photos from this drive you can read/see here:


London, United...
Level Contributor
1 911 posts
4 reviews
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Trip Swartsberg Pass

You really need to drive the complete length of the Swartberg. Driving just to Die Top is a bit like getting a cake on your birthday and being told that not only can't you blow out the candles you're also not allowed to eat any of it. Get the full experience and drive all the way through to the northern poort.

If you have enough time stop for a while in Prince Albert.

From Prince Albert take the R407 east over the Kredouw Pass and then turn onto the N12 at Klaarstroom and drive through Meiringspoort. You won't be disappointed with the drive.

Halfway through Meiringspoort there is a rest area with a pathway which takes you to a waterfall and pool

Follow the N9 over the Outeniqua Pass to George and then go east on the N2 to Plettenberg Bay

This is the route https://goo.gl/maps/AJxfGavjWTt

There is no need to cut across country to Uniondale unless you were planning to take the R339 down to Knysna (Prince Alfreds Pass) or the R340 (Paardekop Pass) down to Keurboomstrand and then onto the Plettneberg Bay.

In normal driving conditions it would take you about 2 1/2 hours to drive the length of Prince Alfreds Pass or Paardekop Pass.

In the past few days there have been some serious bushfires in the area and Prince Alfreds Pass has been closed to traffic https://www.thesouthafrican.com/garden-route-fires-knysna-november-2018/I am not sure whether it has been re-opened.

Hout Bay, South...
Level Contributor
1 314 posts
3. Re: Trip Swartsberg Pass

i just drove the pass from Prince Albert to Calitzdorp and in my opinion you should do the entire pass to get the full experience. You should give yourself the entire day to do this trip from your lodge in order to stop and enjoy the sights and perhaps have lunch in PA.

During my trip, we drove the pass in the rain and it gives a whole different feel to it.

Visibility was less than 10 feet but for an andrenaline rush, it was awesome. To top it all off, out of the mist and clouds, 2 Klipspringers were standing and watching us right in the middle of the road.

4. Re: Trip Swartsberg Pass

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