A pass for all seasons, carved through rugged terrain, a masterpiece of engineering from an age gone by.
A pass for all seasons?
Tradouw Pass is truly a beautiful pass, with breathtaking scenery throughout the year. In summer the pass has scattered pools to swim in, in autumn the aloes bloom and cover the pass with clusters of the blazing red flowers, in winter the waterfalls cascade down through the mountains and in spring, Tradouw Pass fills with the beautiful colours of the wild flowers. Between 1974 and 1980 the pass was closed and completely tarred, but during this time over 4000 aloes and more than 2500 indigenous trees and plants were planted, cultivating its rich beauty.
Prior to its major upgrade in 1974 the story of Tradouw Pass goes like this:
In 1858 the farmers made a request that a route be made from their farming district to Port Beaufort (Witsand) at the mouth of the Breede River in order for them to transport their produce, it was only in 1867, nine years later that this was brought as a proposal to parliament. The proposal also included that it be built by convict labour. Sir Thomas Bain was the put in charge of the planning and estimating, and work commenced on the building in 1869. Over the course of the year the convicts worked hard and constructed over 4 km of road through very rough terrain, work which included a great deal of explosive blasting. The following year the number of convicts working on the project was drastically reduced and work slowed down. In 1973, the foreman who had been left in charge after Bain had been transferred, the pass was completed and declared open on 27th October 1873 by the Governor's wife, Lady Barkley. The farming community built a church at the Northern end of the pass and although 15 years down the line, the community decided to name the town built around the church Barrydale, after the Barry family in whose house Sir Thomas Bain lived during the project. The house still stands at the foot of the pass and still belongs to the Barry family.
As you drive through this pass, spend a moment thinking of how hundreds of convicts headed up by Sir Thomas Bain carved it out of the rock, without the use of the machinery that would be used today. And just soak in the beauty that is Tradouws Pass.