Built in 1877, the Pakhuis Pass is another of Thomas Bain’s famous passes. He was a busy man, Mr Bain. He had incredible energy and a natural eye for road building. While he was busy on this project, he had four others on the go, the Cogmanskloof between Ashton & Montagu, Koo or Burgers Pass on the other side of Montagu, the Garcia’s Pass near Riversdale and the Verlatenkloof Pass near Fraserberg. He managed these projects himself and all without the use of a 4 x 4. No, it was his trusty steed, a horse carriage or his feet, which got him around. Thomas Bain, apart from his talent for building roads and passes, must have been one tough man.
Bain felt that the Pakhuis Pass would offer the Calvinia traffic the option of going through Clanwilliam, which was better equipped with accommodation and forage than the road used at the time.
To this day, that still seems to be the case. There is ample accommodation in the area of the pass, ranging from the luxurious to the more ‘earthy’.
The Pass is still gravel, but it is in good condition and also wide to comfortably accommodate all vehicles, which takes the stress out of crossing a mountain pass. With this absence of tension, one can enjoy the amazing beauty on offer around one, although it is still best to stop the car, climb out and enjoy the fresh air and vistas.
Pakhuis Pass has rock art aplenty on offer. Thomas Bain, a man of many talents, had a deep interest in rock art. He spent much of his time as a cartographer, drawing invaluable maps of the areas he visited. Gathering the information he required for this served his interest in rock formations, cave discovery and rock art perfectly. He discovered many artefacts and rock art displays, many of which are still available today. Take the Sevilla Trail, an unguided tour along the Brandewyn River, hopping from cave to cave, to enjoy some of these delights.
The Wild Flowers get in on the entertainment scene when their time comes and they display their colourful beauty during the flower season, especially at Agter-Pakhuis.
The solitude and wild grandeur of the Cederberg Wilderness Area offers unparallelled opportunity for recreation. Hiking and traditional rock climbing are encouraged on condition rock surfaces remain unscathed. Old woodcutters' paths crisscross the Wilderness Area and hikers will enjoy exploring the area at their leaisure.
The Cederberg also offers countless rocky overhangs and caves teeming with rock art, aging between 300 and 6 000 years years old. An integral part of the Wilderness Area's value, visitors are encouraged to discover them but are reminded of their susceptibility to damage. Incidentally, Rock Art is protected by the National Monuments Act and vandals face fines of up to R10 000 and/or two years imprisonment.
Take the route over the Pakhuis Pass. Sleep over and enjoy the escape from the humdrum of the city, the silence, the bright stars at night, and the fauna and flora. You will be rejuvenated.