Ride Report: 7 Passes Garden Route

Written by AmakayaBP

Riding the famous 7 passes on the Garden Route plus 2 just because :)

Construction of what is commonly known as the ‘7 passes road’ was started in 1867 and completed in 1883.  At that time it was the first constructed road between George and Knysna.  The route was adjusted during the time it was built to accommodate the discovery of gold in the Karatara river in 1875.  This is why the road dips down to the Hooggekraal and Karatara River valleys.

It was the main road between George and Knysna for almost 70 years before the N2 through The Wilderness and Knysna was completed.  The road is a mixture of tar and good gravel road – suitable for any car to drive. This makes it the perfect day to trip to explore by either car or motorbike!

The morning started with a thick mist in Plettenberg Bay that continued most of the way to Knysna.


Knysna Lagoon. On a clear day you would be looking at the Knysna Heads in the background.


Misty-Pass-RideThe 7 Passes road today was ridden from Knysna to George and starts on the Sedgefield side of the Knysna Lagoon at Phantom Pass, named after the white Phantom Moth found in this area and the misty weather continued into the pass.



On reaching the tar  a slight detour to the left was made for a quick breakfast at the Leeuwenbosch Diary Farm.




After breakfast the ride continued past this farm dam with something not often seen these days

– a foefie slide!


Homtini Pass




Blue-SkyThe tree-lined passes then give way to the openness of this part of Karatara Pass and the mist has given way to blue skies.


….and then winding down through the dip of Hooggekraal Pass and open farmland!








The crossing at the Hooggekraal  is the only steel bridge along this stretch of road.


Silver River pass lives up to its name… the reflection of the morning sun makes the river look silver



And so after a leisurely ride of just under 4 hours and many stops, the last pass to negotiate is Kaaimans River Pass.




Montague-PassThe time is now shortly after midday, the riding has been good and why should it end now when there are 2 lovely mountain passes nearby that can still be done today.  So instead of turning left to head back to Plettenberg Bay, the bike leans to the right and on towards Montagu Pass.

Montagu Pass, is on the Regional road between George and Herold. The pass was named after John Montagu, Colonial Secretary of the Cape in the 1840’s, whose enthusiasm for good roads resulted for the first ambitious program of construction in Southern Africa.

Outeniqua Pass can be seen from Montagu Pass. The Toll House at the bottom of the pass is still in good condition but the Smithy is now no longer.  The views along this pass are spectacular, especially at the top at the site of Amanda’s Grave.






After spending the morning riding in temperatures below 20 deg C it was pretty uncomfortable once at the top on the ‘other side of the mountain’!  A sweaty 33 deg C.  A left turn onto the R62 and then on towards on towards Outeniqua pass for the 9th mountain pass of the day.

And the mist had caught up again….at Vic Bay.


Breakfast now seemed a long way away and so it was time to head back to Plett.  A stop was necessary at Timberlake Village for a mid-afternoon lunch and a listen to some live music at Zucchinis.  The cold Gaelic Stout from Robertsons Brewery helped to wash away the ‘traildust’.



Top tip…don’t drink the Coke :)