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Attraction Name: Cradock Pass – (Old Passes before the Montagu Pass)
CATEGORY:: Natural Attractions
Type: Mountain Passes
Entrance Fee (Terms): Trails are free and self-issue permits are available from the Witfontein Forestry Station. Sketch maps are available for the trail.
Description of Attraction: The first pass over the Outeniqua Mountains (Attaqua’s Kloof Pass) was described by Ensign Isaac Schrijver as early as 1689. Duiwel’s Kop Pass (Devil’s Peak), to the east of George, was the second pass over the Outeniqua Mountains and the only alternative to Attaqua’s Kloof Pass.

George was proclaimed a drostdy in 1811 and A.G. van Kervel was appointed the first Landdrost.

Keen on making a success of his post, he drew up a report pointing out the need for a new pass over the Outetniqua Mountains. He suggested upgrading the bridle path immediately behind the town of George as he realized that access to the interior was vital for the prosperity of the new town and he hoped to persuade the Governor of the Cape, Sir John Cradock that a pass over the Outeniquas would benefit the colony as a whole. Cradock agreed with his reasoning.

Forty labourers took two months to complete the 5.5 mile route (10km) which went almost directly over the mountain with no sharp bends or contour paths. The pass was named Cradock Pass, in honour of Sir John Cradock, governor of the Cape (1811-1813). From the start there were complaints about this very steep and formidable road. In places wagons had to be taken apart and carried. The gradient was so severe that two teams off oxen had to be inspanned. Disasters were frequent and travellers were held up for days while repairs were effected. Big rocks caused the wagons to tilt unevenly. From the very beginning, some travellers referred to the route as “only fit for baboons!’

The pass was in use until 1847, when the Montagu Pass was opened. Today Cradock Pass is only used by hikers keen to have a day of strenuous exercise. They will easily spot deep ruts, cut by the wheels and brake shoes of the ox-wagons in the rocks as they scramble up the slope, and will not find it difficult to imagine the desperate braking of frantic drivers. Langkloof farmers hesitated to risk a precious ox-wagon laden with perishables on this route. Many decided to ignore the potential market in the direction of Cape Town and rather undertook a two week trek into the interior to sell their produce to Eastern Cape settlers. Those that dared the Cradock Pass were perhaps the nineteenth century equivalents of today’s extreme sportsmen!

Source: Montagu Pass. Published by George Museum Society.
For more information on the History of George, please contact:
The George Museum
9 Courtenay Street
044 873 5343
Town: George
Region: Garden Route, South Africa
Source: George Museum
Posted / Updated: Oct 28, 2015
Garden Route Meander Office Use Only
Registration Date: Sep 24, 2014
First Name: Garden Route Meander
Last Name: Office Use Only
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