From our base in Tulbagh we followed a circular drive to Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel, visiting Jan Smuts birthplace just outside Riebeek West.
Chains of mountains dominate the country in the Western Cape – it was only when passes and poorts were built that the early settlers could penetrate into the interior of the country to establish towns, and trade routes. A passage through the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, connecting the Tulbagh Valley to Wellington, had already been found in the 1600s. But it was only in the 1860s when Thomas Bain built the third pass, the Nieuwekloof Pass, that there was easy passage through the mountains. Bain’s road can still be seen, underneath the railway line and supported by a packed stone wall. Today’s Nuwekloof Pass dates from 1962 and follows the tarmacked N46. This post is just a little taste of the countryside.
The next post will visit Jan Smuts’ birthplace.