Boosmansbos Pass (DR01328)

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Near the summit/start Near the summit/start - Photo: Dr. Thomas Wagner

This steep gravel pass offers spectaular views over the Duiwenhoksrivier valley tucked right up into the green rolling foothills of the Langeberg, between the Tradouw and Garcia passes on a minor gravel road, which offers several pass driving options as it is also the access road to the Gysmanshoek pass.

The road is suitable for normal sedan vehicles, providing it has not been raining in which case some of the low level bridges might be impassable. On the steeper gradients, FWD cars might have traction issues in wet weather.

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Note: Google Earth software reads the actual topography and ignores roads, cuttings, tunnels, bridges and excavations. The Google Earth vertical-profile animation generates a number of parallax errors, so the profile is only a general guide of what to expect in terms of gradients, distance and elevation. The graph may present some impossible and improbably sharp spikes, which should be ignored.

Digging into the details:

The road is a little tricky to locate and there are several options of how to get there. We will use the most likely access route, which would be from Cape Town on the N2 heading east. Once through the historic town of Swellendam, continue heading east on the N2 for 12,5 km. The Buffelsjags prison appears on the northern side of the road, followed by a BP service station to the south.

Goede Hoop farm - Dairy cowsDairy farming at Goede Hoop farm at the foot of the pass / Photo: jmniemandAfter another 1 km, will get you to the turnoff to the R324 at GPS S34.041581 E20.562692. Turn left at that point and continue on the R324, which is a tarred road, for 10 km tlll you arrive at the unusual Moravian mission village of Suurbraak. It's a long, ribbony village with stray dogs, children, poultry and cattle roaming about freely, so slow right down and it is also a good place to stop and check out some of the historical buildings and sites and of course - the old church.

After a further 5km (heading east), the turnoff to the fabulous Tradouw Pass appears on your left (north). If you haven't driven this pass before and have the time, go and drive it. It is magnificent. To get to the Boosmansbos Pass continue straight on. After another 5,5 kilometers, the road becomes gravel and it also marks the start of Moodies Pass. At the summit of Moodies there is a 3 way intersection at GPS S34.026676 E20.813342.

View from the hiking trailLooking south over the Duiwenhoks River and De Goede farm from the Boosmansbos Hiking Trail. The pass can just be seen slightly to the right of the middle of the photo descending the hill in the background/ Photo by jmniemand.Turning right will take you to Heidelberg. This was the original main road to Cape Town. A sharp left turn leads off to a local farm - 'Valleys End' and is a dead end. Continue straight on along the middle gravel road for 1,5 km, which follows the spine of a ridge and views of rolling wheat and canola fields with a backdrop of towering mountains come to view. Soon you will arrive at a T-junction, where you must turn left at GPS S34.022566 E20.828069. The right hand road also leads back to Heidelberg.

After 1,5 km of twists and turns towards the north, you will arrive at a fork (Y-junction) at GPS S34.015029 E20.835217. The left hand road goes to the Grootvadersbosch Forestry Station which offers superb hiking and mountain bike trails. Our road heads to the right and it also marks the beginning and summit point of the Boosmansbos Pass. The descent is gradual as the road follows the spine of the hill. The views are wonderful despite the relatively low altitude. Ahead are the blue and green shades of the densely forested lower slopes of the Langeberg, split by several deep gorges offering glimpses of streams and waterfalls, whilst far below the Duiwenhoks River follows a serpentine path towards the coast and is flanked by green orchards and fields. The name Boosmansbos translates into "Bad-tempered man's bush"

In one of the kloofs up the riverA cool kloof up the second river which can be accessed via the Boosmansbos Hiking Trail / photo: Andrzej Paczynski
The gradient starts getting steeper and although there are not many sharp bends on this pass, it is nontheless very steep with some sections at 1:6 and in wet weather a 4WD vehicle would be a safer option. Despite the steep gradients, the road is generally maintained to a good standard. The descent is relentless and we recommend descending in 2nd gear (high range) to save on excessive braking. Near the bottom of the pass there are two farms, split by a deep ravine. The ravine hides the footpaths of the Boosmansbos Wilderness hiking trail, flanked on the left by the Stonehaven farm. Just before the first of two river crossings, the road passes close by the Goede Hoop farmstead. Dead slow at this point please - for general safety and dust consideration to the farmer and his crops.

The pass ends at the crossing of the second river, 1 km after the first. There are a number of labourers cottages close to the road. Watch out for pedestrians, children and animals. Both of these rivers (the first being the Duiwenhoks River) regularly come down in flood. Be sensible about whether your vehicle is capable of crossing the rivers or not and always err on the side of caution.

We offer our standard deep water river crossing cautionary here for your convenience:

1. Walk through the river crossing on both tracks with a stick to check for obstructions and holes. If you're not willing to walk it, then dont drive it.
2. Know the wading depth of your vehicle.
3. Carefully consider not only the depth of the water, but also the speed and direction of the current.
4. Once you have made the decision to attempt the crossing, drive with your windows rolled down, doors unlocked and safety belts off - just in case you need to get out in a hurry for a swim and a wave goodbye to your car as it floats briefly down the river.
5. It's better to be a "wuss" than a dead hero. If in doubt, leave it out.
6. Consider your options carefully. With some rivers, the levels recede rapidly, so a wait of an hour or two might be worthwhile. Alternatively, choose another route.

An east river crossingThe first of the two river crossings presents few problems in good weather, but be very careful here when these rivers come down in flood / Photo: jmniemandThe continuation of this road will traverse several more passes and ultimately take you to the starting point of the Gysmanshoek Pass or further on to Heidelberg.

If you intend driving this route, please read up on the other passes on this route by using the hyperlinks provided. Doringkloof Pass, Seekoeigat Pass and Wadrift Pass.


Fact File:


S34.013244 E20.837445


S34.013244 E20.837445


S33.990281 E20.865746














4,3 km




10 minutes


40 - 60 kph


Gravel (DR01328)






Heidelberg (15 km)

Route Map:

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From Address:

Route files:

||Click to download: Boosmansbos Pass (Note. This is a .kmz file which can be opened in Google Earth and most GPS software systems)

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