While Thomas Bain was building the Cogmanskloof Pass between 1873 & 1877, he was approached by the local inhabitants to build a pass which would free the land-locked Koo Valley. Such a pass would allow the farmers to move their rich fruit to the railway for transporting.
When you visit this pass and the adjacent Rooihoogte, you will see the problem posed by the rise of the land.
Construction of the Koo Mountain Pass and Rooihoogte was completed in 1877. The work was of a very high standard, some of the dry-stone walling is still visible till today, and the project was a compliment to the local Divisional Council.
Transport volumes and the size of vehicles increased and a 400-yard deviation was built in 1924. This improved a very troublesome section where the gradient was 1 in 5. Here it is said that early Overland cars had to reverse up the pass. Apparently the gradient and positioning of the petrol tanks meant that the flow of petrol was interrupted.
The Rooihoogte Pass has steep curves and a tight hairpin bend. Approaching from the N1 near Matroosberg, it offers excellent views of the valley below. The Koo Valley is awash in a sea of pink and white blossoms of the fruit in Spring.