Almost directly opposite Zoar, a quaint little town founded in the early 1800s by the Berlin Mission, is a gravel road that leads to one of the Western Cape’s hidden treasures – Seweweekspoort.
According to some, Seweweekspoort is named after a missionary, Reverend Zerwick. It is renowned for its special natural beauty, immense rock formations and cliffs, and its timeless feeling of remoteness. The towering cliffs of the Swartberg bear witness to the immense forces from within the earth that once upon a time elevated these rugged, folded formations.
The road runs for some 20 km through the Poort, taking you from the Little Karoo to the Great Karoo, as well as from the winter rainfall to the summer rainfall area. It has been a gateway to the hinterland since before 1800, and Adam de Smidt built a wagon and horse road only in 1860. He was a brother in law to the well-known Thomas Bain. Only minor improvements have been made to this road over the years.
At some 2325 m above sea level, Seweweekspoort Peak is the highest in the Cape region. It keeps a watchful eye over the remaining klipspringer, dassie and even the occasional leopard. Often, Verreaux eagle can be spotted soaring among the cliffs. Beautiful specimens of Kiepersol can be seen along the way as the road crosses the meandering stream 23 times.
Only 7 km to the northeast is the Bosluiskloof pass – also built by Adam de Smidt, concurrently with Seweweekspoort. This little pass served as an extension of Seweweekspoort to create a throughway into the vast interior, and still retains its own special, untouched beauty to this day.
Dr. Atherstone (geologist) said the following in reference to Seweweekspoort in 1862:
“The most wonderful gorge or mountain pass I have ever beheld… how few know of this extraordinary mountain gap”
And in reference to the Bosluiskloof Pass:
“[From the top of the Pass] a scene burst upon us that I shall not forget in a hurry”.
C. Louis Leipoldt, after having travelled through Seweweekspoort, proclaimed it to be one of the Seven Wonders of the old Cape Province. Many a traveller has echoed these sentiments – why don’t you experience it yourself