In the small seaside town of Wilderness, South Africa lies the derelict train tracks of the once infamous Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. A landslide that occurred in 2006 obscured the tracks and it was decided that the Choo-Tjoe was not core business for Transnet (South African Rail operator). The line was thus not repaired. The Choo-Tjoe took people from Knysna to George along the coast and was a major tourist attraction for the region. The cost of repairs is estimated in the hundreds of Millions although local reports state that Knysna looses that much in tourism revenue on a yearly basis. It must have been a wonderful train trip when it was running and if someone can make it economically viable to bring it back it would be great. There are ideas about turning the line into a biking track or a walking path. Regardless of what happens the line should be used for some tourism activity because it is simply beautiful.
Bainskloof Pass takes you on a beautiful path through the Limietberg mountains, on the R301, from Wellington to the R43 between Ceres and Worcester. The Pass which was originally completed in 1853 was built by convict labour and overseen by Andrew Geddes Bain, who was the Father of Thomas Charles John Bain. The table below shows the passes that were built by each.
Andrew Geddes Bain
Thomas Charles John Bain
|Ouberg/Oudeberg Pass near Graaff-Reinet 1832||Meiring’s Poort (after local farmer Petrus Johannes Meiring), 16 km long 1854-58|
|Van Ryneveld Pass near Graaff-Reinet 1830s||Grey’s Pass near Citrusdal (after Sir George Grey), 11 km long 1857-58 (Piekenier’s Kloof 1958)|
|Ecca Pass from Grahamstown to Fort Beaufort (The Queen’s Road) 1837||Tulbagh Kloof (after the town of Tulbagh), 5 km long 1859-60|
|Michell’s Pass near Ceres through the Skurweberg, following the course of the Breede River 1846-48||Seweweekspoort (thought to be after Berlin Mission Society preacher Louis Zerwick) from Laingsburg through Swartberg, 17 km long 1859-62|
|Bain’s Kloof Pass near Wellington 1848-52||Prince Alfred’s Pass (after Prince Alfred) from Knysna to Uniondale, 70 km long 1863-67|
|Gydo Pass due north of Ceres up the Skurweberg 1848||Seven Passes road (after number of passes along route) from George to Knysna, 75 km long, ending in the Homtini Pass near Knysna 1867-83|
|Houw Hoek Pass from Elgin to Botrivier 1847||Robinson Pass (after Chief Inspector of Public Works, Murrell Robinson) from Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay 1867-69|
|Katberg Pass near Fort Beaufort 1860-64||Tradouw Pass (Boschkloof, Southey Pass) near Barrydale, 13 km long 1869-73|
|Garcia’s Pass (after Maurice Garcia) from Riversdale to Ladismith, 18 km long 1873-77|
|Pakhuis Pass (after Pakhuisberg, a branch of the Krakadouw Mountains) from Clanwilliam to Calvinia, Cederberg 1875-77|
|Koo Pass or Burger’s Pass (after Koodoosberg) near Montagu 1875-1877|
|Verlaten Kloof Pass from Sutherland to Matjiesfontein 1877|
|Cogmans, Kogmans or Kockemans Kloof (after a Khoikhoi clan) from Ashton to Montagu, 5 km long 1873|
|Swartberg Pass from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert, 24 km long 1880-88 (John Tassie built 6 km of road from Prince Albert end)|
|Baviaanskloof from Willowmore to Patensie, 3 km long 1880-90|
|Bloukrans Pass near Nature’s Valley late 1800’s|
|Grootrivier Pass at Nature’s Valley late 1800’s|
|Storms River Pass on the Garden Route late 1800’s|
This list may not be completely comprehensive and further information on the Bain legacy can be found here.
The Waterfall is one of many that are on this pass and runs under the roadway. It is an absolutely beautiful drive and I would recommend making a visit. You will definitely see and hear more about this pass in the future.
Taken near George, this photo depicts the Outeniqua mountains in the background and fruit crates in the foreground. George is approximately halfway between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town thus the centre of the Garden Route. The Town was first established because of the timber industry which is still in operation. A visit to George and the Garden Route is something I would suggest you do!