FORGOTTEN OLD CAPE PASSES
Dr Roger Stewart, historian
This illustrated lecture draws on the mapped routes of early travellers, early survey maps, evidence from Google Earth and site visits to uncover four nineteenth century wagon passes that seem to have been forgotten. Between Villiersdorp and Genadendal there was a path that was described by Charles Michell an ‘execrable’ hard road that traversed the Donkerhoek Mountain near today's Helderstroom Prison. An extremely difficult pass existed adjacent to today’s Viljoen's Passes, between Grabouw and Tierwaterskloof Dam. Although unrecorded, its existence can be inferred from two farm surveys, an aerial photograph and William Burchell’s map. The original Helshoogte Pass was to the north-west of the current roads. It traversed a number of today's well known wine estates situated in the Banghoek Valley and past High Rustenberg. The harrowing Witzenberg Pass ascended the Witzenberg Mountain to the Schurfteberg Pass en route to the Bokkeveld Karoo.