This full-day guided nature tour of the 27 kilometer Swartberg Pass (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), includes leisure optional scenic walks on the Swartberg Pass offering panoramic views over the Klein and Great Karoo at the "top" of the Pass ( 1568 m above sea level).
The tour begins by vehicle from your Oudtshoorn guesthouse in the morning after breakfast. Traveling north to the southern foothills of the Swartberg Mountains, you’ll enjoy a 3,200 foot drive up the winding Swartberg Pass. The Pass has a gravel dry-stone surface and was constructed by renowned road engineer, Thomas Bain over a four year period, opening to traffic in 1888. Its construction required extreme manual labour and, as a result, remains as solid as it was when it was first built.From the summit of the Swartberg Pass, 5,180 feet above sea level, you will enjoy picture perfect panoramic views over the Klein- and Great Karoo. The area is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Monument. From here you will depart on a scenic walk.Along the way, enjoy the panoramic views of sandstone formations sculpted over 300 million years. It may be possible to spot an agile klipspringer (small antelope), soaring Verreaux’s eagle, jackal buzzard, or even several species of sunbirds feasting on the nectar of protea plants. You’ll pass diverse other fynbos species such as “cone bush,” and “pin cushion” plants and learn about the need for conservation of these unique natural resources and habitats. The tranquility and serenity of this unique experience reflects the essence of a bygone era where wagons and riders on horseback were familiar sights.From here you can enjoy another leisurely scenic walks on the Swartberg Pass observing the diverse fynbos and bird species endemic to this protected vegetational biome.Optional leisure hike on a mountain trail can be enjoyed offering 170 kilometer views over the Great Karoo. The trails are of moderate intensity and no formal hiking gear, apart from proper shoes, is required. After a full day of exploring, the tour concludes with a drop-off at your Oudtshoorn accommodations.Children must be accompanied by an adult. All hiking is moderately difficult, and no additional equipment, beyond sturdy shoes and weather appropriate clothing, is needed. Entrance to the Nature Reserve is included, but food and drink are not. The tour may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.