The name Kaaiman’s, or its numerous variations such as Quaiman’s, Caymmans, Kayman’s and Kujman’s, seems to support the theory that there were crocodiles resident in the river. The most likely explanation is that it was the iguana, a large amphibian lizard, which indeed inhabited the river earlier.
The Kaaiman’s River or Keerom River (so named as many travelers turned on their heel and returned when faced with the daunting prospect of the deep gorge and rugged terrain ahead), was recorded by Ensign August Beutler, when he was instructed to continue down the coast in search of French troops, reported to be trying to colonise the area around the Lakes.
His is the first record of the Keerom (Turnabout) River. The route basically served as a pass for about two hundred years. Thomas Bain’s Passes Road offered an alternative from 1869, and although he suggested to the Roads Commissioner that upgrading the Kaaimansgat Pass would not be too expensive a task nor time consuming, the cost in conjunction with that of the Montagu Pass, made it exorbitant.
It was only in the 1951, when traffic volumes had grown too great for the Passes Road to contend with, the National Road was driven through along the lines of the Kaaimansgat.
This route, which we have all certainly traveled, is a breathtaking journey, but it does pose an engineering problem in that it cannot be widened and the traffic volumes of the region have had an adverse effect on the construction of the Pass.
Floods is 2006 almost resulted in the permanent closure of the pass and extensive repair work had to be undertaken to restore this route as the lifeblood of the region.
The Kaaimansriver Pass will form part of your journey along the passes of the Garden Route and you will be astounded by its beauty as well as the beauty of the area it cuts a swathe through.