SEVEN WEEKS POORT / SEWEWEEKSPOORT:
25Km from Gamkapoort dam
Probably the best example of fold mountains in Africa if not the world, the drive of 21 Kms through the mountains is awe inspiring and one of the highlights of any trip to the Western Cape. There are many versions of how Seweweekspoort got its name, all of which are equally contentious. Amazingly the English spelling of Seweweekspoort is the official spelling or perhaps that’s just another fallacy. Whatever you do don’t miss a drive through this geological wonder. But take care if you stop, park off the road away from the corners – remember, to the local farmers this is the road to town not a holiday outing, they really speed through here.
The approach road 21Km almost all down hill.
Built around 1860 it took longer to finish than planned due to the fact that other roads to the interior were completed which meant its importance diminished. The pass has changed little since its opening. The view at the first turn must rank as one of the most beautiful in Africa and one of the most unusual. The road down is sand and very steep. Remember that up-coming traffic has right of way, so if you see a vehicle coming up move over, stop and let it pass. More importantly, remember you will have to come back up this pass and you might just be glad you were kind on the way down.
70 Km from Gamkapoort dam via SEWEWEEKSPOORT / SEVEN WEEKS POORT.
The town is famous for its PORT, WINE, HOT SPRINGS and its SANDSTONE / BRICK CHURCH. The church seats a 1050 congregation and is built in the Renaissance-Byzantine style and has a huge organ which is played regularly for visitors, almost on request. All in all a fascinating small town with a surprising amount of activity and history. It is worth spending time there, digging for answers. The people of this small town have an adapt or perish attitude which is infectious.
A drive along a side road from Calitzdorp in the direction of Oudtshoorn takes one through the strange and fascinating “Red Hills” created by red-tinted deposits left many millions of years ago.
AMALIENSTEIN / ZOAR / OPSOEK:
46 Km from Gamkapoort dam on the R62.
Two mission stations within a few Kms of each other can only have a history which just begs to be written. The surrounding community live a mixture of rural village life, farming, politics and adaptation to the changing style of life of the twenty first century. Do your homework before visiting and make an appointment to visit the many churches which abound in the three small abutting towns.
70 Km from GamkapoortDam via SEWEWEEKSPOORT / SEVEN WEEKS POORT.
A Historical Town at the foot of the SWARTBERG mountains below the very impressive TOWERKOP peak which is split in two. The climbing of this Peak is legendary and at one time was one of the most daring climbs in South African climbing history. Ladismith is also home to the Ladismith Cheese factory. The local tourist bureau is situated in a beautiful old church. A town well worth spending time driving and walking around.
97 Km from the Dam via The ROOINEK PASS.
Site of the devastating 1981 Flood which claimed the lives of 103 people destroyed 184 homes (only 21 were left standing ). 425 mm of rain fell fell on the 24/25 Th of January 1981. Annual rainfall is normally + – 175 mm. A marker indicating the height of the flood waters can be seen in the main road.
Between Laingsburg and the turn off to Bosluiskloof the road passes through some remarkable geological features including some memorable folding.
- Saxe-Coburg Lodge, Prince Albert: http://www.saxecoburg.co.za/
- Gamkaskloof “The Hell”: www.diehel.com
- Seweweekspoort Guest Farm; Liesel and Jaco Hunlan; Tel: 023 – 5815005
- Sandrivier -Jonel Hunlan: www.seweweekspoort.co.za