Guided half-day Swartberg Pass eco-tour. The Swartberg Mountains is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Swartberg Pass is a National Monument (gravel road) and ascents 900m until you reach the summit. The tour includes a leisure walk on a Swartberg Mountain Trail with panoramic vistas over the Klein-and Great Karoo. You will also learn more about the conservation initiatives pioneered by the members of the H.O.P.E. Foundation.
From your hotel or guesthouse in Oudtshoorn, you travel north to the southern foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. From here you commence your 900 meter scenic eco-tour up the world renowned Swartberg Pass. At the summit of the Swartberg Pass (1,580 meter above sea level) you will enjoy a scenic walk on this national monument. The Pass has a gravel surface and was constructed by renowned road engineer, Thomas Bain over a 4 year period and opened on 10 January 1888. From the “top” of the Swartberg Pass you will enjoy picture perfect panoramic views over the Klein and Great Karoo. The dry-stone technique used to construct the pass required extreme manual labour and is as solid as it was when constructed 127 years ago. Enjoy the scenic panoramic views surrounded by sandstone formations dating back more than 300 million years. Feasting your eyes on the full splendour of diverse “fynbos” species ranging from various protea species as well as “cone bush” and “pin cushions” will accentuate the need for conservation of our natural resources and habitats. You may even spot a soaring Verreaux Eagle, Jackal Buzzard or any of the many species of sunbirds feasting on the nectar of the proteas. The agility of the “Klipspringer” (small antelope) over the rugged sandstone formations will astound you. The tranquillity and serenity of this unique experience reflects the essence of a bygone era where wagons and riders on horseback was a familiar sight. At the summit (“Die Top”) of the Swartberg Pass, you decent down the Swartberg Pass towards the offices of the H.O.P.E. Foundation. Here you learn about the social and conservation initiatives pioneered by the members of the H.O.P.E. Foundation. From here you can enjoy a leisure hike on a Swartberg Hiking trail observing the diverse fynbos and bird species endemic to this protected vegetation bio-me. The trails are of moderate intensity and no formal hiking gear, apart from proper shoes, is required. At 1,350m above mean sea level, you will be treated to panoramic vistas over the northern slopes of the Swartberg Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).