26 January 2012, 10:01 am
The Swartberg Pass is one of the steepest passes in South Africa, climbing 1 000 metres in 12 kilometres and offering spectacular views over the Little and Great Karoo.
The road is not tarred and can be tricky in wet weather, but you don't need a 4x4 for the pass.
Expect striking rock formations, interesting plant life, hairpin bends and the fascinating retaining walls that support the road against the slopes - built by the dry-wall method of construction.
The pass is the work of master pass engineer Thomas Baines and his team of convict labourers. Construction started in 1881 and it was opened in 1887. Today it is a national monument.