Swartberg Pass & The Hell


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Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Klein Karoo
July 3rd 2016
Published: October 8th 2016
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Our first stop was George to stop in to see a friend and hit the beach for a couple of days.

When I say hit the beach, it was winter so we mainly walked the many trails in the area of Buffels bay.

We had decided to complete a short walk in the Plettenberg bay area inside the national park. Just a short walk so no need for drinks and snacks!

Famous last words. With non of us dressed for the adventure, wearing jeans! we headed off and walked through the amazing forest area which borders the beach. It wasn't a particularly challenging walk and soon we found ourselves on the beach, just as it started to rain. We sat for a while deciding which way back and throwing pebbles into the sea.

We continued our walk but decided to take the coastal path rather. That was our last mistake for the day!! not only do you follow the contours for the coast line but you also have to boulder hop. We had no idea where we were or how far we had left to go. We were all starting to get a little nervous. We know there was a much longer hike in the area and so were hoping we hadn't somehow got onto that route. Soaked through to the skin we eventually got back to the car, luckily we had put a change of clothes in so could at least get dry and warm!!!

We said our goodbyes and 2 of us headed off up the R12 towards Oudtshoorn and then onto the Cango Caves. These are well worth a stop, we made the mistake of not checking the times of the tours. There are 2 types of tours, a standard walking and talking tour or the exploring and squeezing through small spaces tour. I was super keen for the later but unfortunately we had arrived at no mans time and therefore had to take the standard tour.

It was superb and well worth the visit.

Our final destination was Cape Natures cottages in The Hell, but we figured we had enough time to drive the full pass to Prince Albert, stop and have lunch and still get to our accommodation.

Prince Albert is a stunning little 1 street town. Lots of lovely shops and places to eat. We found ourselves a the hotel and I must say the food was great.

To get to The Hell you have to take a road off the pass, the road went on for miles and miles. The scenery is outstanding but you do start to think if the road ever ends.

When you finally get towards the end you are met with a road full of switch backs which lead down towards The Hell. The road was only completed in 1967, which lead to the residence leaving the area. It has since become a world heritage site.

There is a choice of accommodation in the area, camping, self catering cottages and a hotel of sorts. We had booked into the self catering cottages. The place is amazing and so beautiful its hard to explain. There is 1 road through and all accommodation is off that road. All the cottages on the road have the details of their previous owners on information boards so you can read all about the history of the place.

We were staying in Lenie Marais's house. All the cottages have been restored to there previous condition and I have to give full credit to Cape Nature they are in excellent condition and the facilities and linen provided is very good.

There are 3 walks in the area, 1 is a discovery of all the cottages, the 2nd is to the surprising dam and the 3rd is up into the mountains. We stayed for 2 nights and managed to complete all the walks.

We did have great weather, as I can imagine in wet and windy conditions it would really live up to its name!!

I would defiantly go back, maybe in the summer when the plunge pool at our cottage isn't so cold!!!


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