This is one of the most spectacular gravel passes in the Western Cape offering stunning scenery of craggy mountains, vertical rock walled poorts, old-school engineering, game spotting, birdlife and a fabulous 4 star lodge to ease weary travellers into the bushveld way of life. The pass has 60 bends, corners and curves compressed into its 7,6 km length with an average gradient of 1:13 which is remarkable considering that the lower part of the pass where it becomes a poort is fairly flat. Yet there is no point on the pass which is excessively steep. There are some sections that reach 1:6 so this road with it's steep unguarded drop-offs, requires focused attention by drivers.
This historic pass dates back to 1862 and was completed by Thomas Bain's brother in law - Adam de Smidt. The road is named after the many fossilised ticks found in the rocks when the road was built. This used to be the main road between Laingsburg and Prince Albert up till the late 1960's when the Dept. of Water Affairs built the Gamkakloof Dam, which had a number of consequences, including making this road obsolete.
Firstly it made the road a dead end as there was no way around the new dam and secondly it spelt the end of the farming community in the Gamkakloof, as the new road bulldozed eastwards through the Gamkaskloof gave this community access to Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp. They left the kloof in a steady trickle until there was no-one left. That is one of the negative sides of progress. The full story on the on the Gamkaskloof can be read elsewhere on this website.
The full content of this article is restricted to subscribers.
Subscribe for only R425 a year and get full access to our website (936+ mountain passes), including the videos, the full text of all mountain passes articles, fact-file, interactive map, directions and route files.
Subscribe Now (12 months)
For those who need to only use the website for a single trip or a short time frame, we now also offer a 6 month convenience subscription at R325.
Subscribe Now (6 months)
If you have already subscribed to our site, you can Log in to view the full article.
You will gain full access to the best parts of the website, which include:
- the full content (non subscribers only see about 10% of the text) of 888+ mountain passes,
- plus you get the video(s),
- Fact File,
- Interactive Map,
- and the downloadable Route File.
You will also get our weekly newsletter packed with the latest interesting passes information delivered to your email each Thursday.
Paid subscribers qualify for 10% off the digital downloads from our online shop.
Still not convinced?
You can visit five ‘Open’ pass pages on Mountain Passes South Africa to evaluate what you’ll be getting: