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Swartberg Pass

A curvy road with hairpin bends and unique colorful cliffs


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The Swartberg Pass is located on the R328 road in Swartberg mountain range, in the Little Karoo, Western Cape province of South Africa. With a maximum elevation of 1,583 m above sea level, the road climbs 1,000 meters in 12 km. The gravel road is one of the steepest in South Africa. However, it is open year round and doesn't require a 4WD vehicle to drive through the pass. The road starts in Oudtshoorn in the south and goes to Prince Albert in the north.

The road over Swartberg pass was built in 1888 by Thomas Bain, son of Andrew Geddes Bain, a famous South African explorer, geologist, and road engineer. The road still has some of the original dry stone retaining walls, that are over 100 years old. Swartberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Swartberg range is one of the best-exposed fold mountain chains on the planet, a truly unique and beautiful geological formation with remarkable colors of quartzite cliffs. The Little Karoo is a semi-arid area of South Africa with interesting plants and species. Not to mention breathtaking views of waterfalls and valleys. Swartberg Pass is definitely one of the most spectacular mountain passes in South Africa.

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