Western Cape Road-trip | Day 0 | Trip planning and details

The planning.

In October last year (2022), my friends and I started planning an end of year roadtrip. The plan was to leave just after Christmas and see in the new year from a lekker location somewhere and then head back home.

Also, only the guys were doing all the planning for this trip, as a result, the women were just coming along for the ride (and stopping us from going hungry). Oh, and looking after the kids. Basically, the guys were just planning where we would be driving and stopping and sleeping, and setting up the tents, and then the other necessities of a camping road trip would just somehow fall into place naturally…

Another note about this trip: the purpose was to drive over as many mountain passes as we could… and there are A LOT of mountain passes in the Western Cape, let alone South Africa.

The trip.

Over the course of the next few months of planning, we decided on the following route details:

  • Day 1: Travel from Cape Town to Porcupine Rest Camp @ Seweweekspoort.
  • Day 2: Seweweekspoort to Bo Plaas in Die Hel.
  • Day 3: Die Hel to Charlesford in Knysna.
  • Day 4: Charlesford to Karoo Bush Camp in Van Wyks Dorp.
  • Day 5 (New Years eve): Karoo Bush Camp to Bontebok Nature Reserve in Swellendam (spend 2 nights here).
  • Day 7: Bontebok Nature Reserve back to home in Cape Town (in our case, Paarl).

80% of our trip was going to be on gravel roads, and we weren’t entirely sure how good the conditions were going to be for the majority of the route. For instance, in November and December there were some crazy rain storms that caused flooding and damaged many roads in the areas that were going to be going through.

The passes.

Below is a list of passes we were going to attempt to complete: 45 mountain passes in total.

Day 1

  • Ou Kaapse Weg
  • Du Toits Kloof
  • Witwaterspoort Pass
  • Varsbokkraal Pass
  • Rooinek Pass
  • Witnekke Pass
  • Koueveld Pass
  • Bosluiskloof Pass

Day 2

  • Seweweeks Poort
  • Huisrivier Pass
  • Kruisrivierpoort
  • Huis se Hoogte
  • Doringkloof Pass
  • Swartberg Pass
  • Gamkaskloof
  • Elands Pass (Gamkaskloof/Die Hel)

Day 3

  • Kredouw Pass
  • Meiringspoort
  • Rooikranspoort
  • Uniondale Heights
  • Uniondale Poort
  • Prince Alfred Pass

Day 4

  • Phantom Pass
  • Homtini Pass
  • Karatara Pass
  • Hoogekraal Pass
  • Touw River Pass
  • Silver River Pass
  • Kaaimansgat Pass
  • Swartrivier Pass
  • Montagu Pass
  • Paardepoort
  • Perdeskoendraai Pass
  • Rooiberg Pass
  • Assegaaibosch Pass

Day 5

  • Kliphoogte
  • Gysmanshoek Pass
  • Wadrift Pass
  • Seekoeigat Pass
  • Doringkraal Pass
  • Boosmansbos Pass
  • Moodies Pass

Day 6

Day 7

  • Dwarskloof Pass
  • Coles Pass
  • Sir Lowrys Pass
  • Ou Kaapse Weg

Pack the important stuff

As our departure day neared, we made sure that we had all the necessary items needed for a week long road trip with us:

  • Linda and I borrowed Varkie’s tent: a not-too-difficult to set up tent that you can stand in, and is big enough to accommodate a double blow-up mattress, a camping cot for Olivia and a changing table
  • braai equipment
  • enough clothes
  • pram (get a small one that can fold up compactly)
  • jumper leads
  • a spade
  • a mosquito net (the most effective item against those MFers)
  • table and chairs
  • tyre repair kit
  • fridge / freezer (we had to get an Anderson plug installed to the back of the bakkie to power the fridge = R2 900)

and then a whole bunch of other stuff that completely filled the back of the bakkie and the backseat of the car (!) such as our exercise equipment which seemed like a good idea before we left but the only time it ever got touched was when I had to move it out the way because it was blocking access to the chips and beer in the cooler.

Keep an eye out for a day-by-day breakdown of the trip as well as my favourite images that we took.

Thanks for reading!