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Take Franschhoek Pass to Villiersdorp and Hermanus

Franschhoek from the Pass summit
Franschhoek from the Pass summit Credits: Freda Andrew

The Franschhoek Pass and Jan Joubertsgat Bridge connects Franschhoek and the Boland Winelands with Villiersdorp, Hermanus, Caledon and the Overberg.

When entering Franschhoek from Stellenbosch and Paarl one gets the impression that this quiant historical Huguenot Village is the end of the line so to speak. However, if you drive through the town you reach the Huguenot Monument site. At the T junction turn left and pass the monument. This road takes you out of Franschhoek in a steep

climb all the way to the summit of the Franschhoek Pass. On the way up there are several places where you can pull over to appreciate the vista below.

As you reach the top there is a tight hairpin bend and another laybye on the right hand side which probably gives the finest view down the Valley toward Paarl in the far distance.

The pass then descends from its zenith of 751m down to one of the oldest bridges in South Africa. This is the Jan Joubertgat Bridge which is today a national monument. The story goes that the pass was first built by a Mr S J Cats. This was a rough track very difficult for wagons to pass through and many years later Lord Charles Somerset made use The Royal Engineers, together with soldiers from the Royal Africa Corps, to rebuild the track into a road with a hardtop, and to build the current Jan Joubertgat Bridge. The commemorative plaque attached to the bridge reads as follows –

Jan Joubertsgat Bridge

This bridge was built as part of the first hard road over the French Hoek Mountains by the Royal Engineers assisted by Soldiers of The Royal Africa Corps. It was completed in 1825 and except for a new surface is one of the earliest bridges in the Republic. – National Monuments Council 1979”

At the bottom of Franschhoek Pass one drives along the edge of Theewaterskloof Dam for about 8 kilometres. At the T junction turn left for Villiersdorp, Caledon and Hermanus and right for Grabouw, Elgin and Somerset West.

Total distance from Franschhoek to Villiersdorp is 32 kilometres and from Villiersdorp to Hermanus via Bot Rivier about 61kilometres.

Click on the Attachment link below to see a few images of the route from the Huguenot Monument to Villiersdorp. Do this trip in a side car or in an open top sports car

© bruce m andrew

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