The Bains kloof drive is very different to the other drives around Cape Town. The vegetation and views are so untouched & raw, it’s hard to believe that you’re within a short distance of Cape Town.
The Bainskloof Pass is situated on the R303 between Wellington and Ceres and was completed in 1853, it’s one of the most picturesque passes in the Cape. It was built using convict labour, by Andrew Geddes Bain, the most famous of southern African road engineers. The summit lies at 595m and offers some great viewing spots. Bainskloof was originally built for horse drawn traffic and since then the western side has been somewhat altered but the eastern side is pretty much as it was other than it has been tarred.
I would suggest stopping over at the Calabash for lunch & the florida farm stall, near Wellington, to see all the animals as well as grab a few snacks. The Calabash is on the right, not too far after you take the turnoff onto the R301 from the R43. There is no way you can miss it as its one of the only buildings around. There is a great view from the deck and the food isn’t half-bad either.
You definitely need to stop over at a few of the lookout points along the Bainskloof pass and it’s up to you which ones you stop at. There are great views of the river as well as on the other side of the pass.
On your way home if you feel a bit peckish or don’t want the drive to be over I would recommend you stop at Florida Farm stall (on the R44/R45 crossing). They have a shop to buy some refreshments and quite a few different animals to have a look at.
You also have the option of stopping at Tweede Tol campsite if you feel like having a picnic or swimming in some beautiful rock pools.
If you feel like spending the night then check out Goudini Spa, just make sure it’s not in peak season because it tends to get really full, fast.
The drive offers a few different routes but I will outline the best and most scenic one. The idea is to get most of the distance away during the first stage of the drive so that afterwards you can start heading homebound and not feel like you have to mission around the country just to get there. The actual pass is 30km but with the drive from Cape Town you are looking at about 190-200km of total driving distance.
Take the N1 towards Paarl and continue through the Toll Gate and through Hugenoot tunnel towards Worcester. About 16km past the tunnel, there is a weighbridge on your right and just before the weighbridge you must turn right onto the R101 towards Rawsonville. About 8km further you will come across a crossing where you can go left to Slanghoek and right to Rawsonville. Turn left towards Slandhoek and travel all the way to the R43. Turn left at the R43 and then left again onto the R301 to Bainskloof Pass. Continue on the R301 to Wellington. From Wellington take the R44 back to the N1 and then return home.
Useful contact numbers:
Calabash restaurant/ bush pub: 023 355 1844
Tweede Tol campsite: 021 483 0190
Goudini Spa 023 349-8100