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Van Rhyns Pass


Thomas Bain built the original Van Rhyn’s Pass in 1880. The pass takes the traveller from van Rhynsdorp up to Nieuwoudtville on the escarpment, an escalation of note. It is an interesting approach by car, as the sense of anticipation builds as one covers a long, straight stretch of road which meets the foot of the Matsikama Mountain.


The area is steeped in tradition, history and modern interest. Niewoudtville for one is a popular area for visitors hoping to catch the Namaqualand in full bloom during its annual display of floral fireworks.


The pass itself is mesmerising, with its steep gradient and double backs, which afford one the chance to "see where you've been" and the view of the plain down below is nothing short of breathtaking.


Carry on through to Calvinia, mesmerised by the flowers if it is August or September or just the harsh and stark beauty which is the Namaqualand, a beauty which is not obvious at first glance, but rather a kind of fungus which grows and entrances the viewer.


Play 9 holes of golf at the Calvinia Country Club, where the greens are more like blacks, as they are made of tar because of the scarcity of water.


The greater area accessed by the van Rhyns Pass is enchanting, with a character of its own, most obviously enjoyed in spring when accompanied by a symphony of colour as the wild flowers come out to bloom.


To think that this is the only time to visit this region would be a mistake. Take some time from your busy schedule, and do a round trip of Mountain Passes. Start at the Pakhuis Pass, come around to the Gifberg Pass and then ascend the van Rhyns Pass. Spend some time in this piece of Creation, where one easily forgets time and learns to relax within the concept of living in the now. 


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