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Du Toit's Kloof Pass
Paarl district, Western Cape

Date:1941-1949 ; 1988 ; 1993-1997
Type:Mountain Pass
Style:Civil Engineering
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
33°41'59.27" S 19°04'12.51" E Alt: 873m

There were various aborted attempt at creating a pass through the rugged Klein Drakenstein mountains. The Huguenot, Francois du Toit, had settled the farm De Kleine Bosch in 1692 and had suggested to the then Governor, Simon van der Stel, that a pass be pushed through the mountains, but to no avail.

In 1821 Detlef Schonfeldt bought the kloof, assuming a pass would be built. He commenced construction from the Paarl side, but Lord Charles Somerset fobbed off requests for funding, he having spent these on the Franschhoek Pass which better suited his hunting expeditions to the interior! Schonfeldt was financially ruined and died in poverty in a garret in Cape Town.

Andrew Geddes BAIN had surveyed the pass in 1846 on the instruction of the then Colonial Secretary, John Montagu, but this came to nought.

In 1931 Pieter Agricola de Villiers, then an engineer for the National Roads Board, suggested the pass be built as part of the poverty alleviation programme of National Government, but only when work was sought for the 1 500 Italian prisoners-of-war housed at nearby Keerwater did the project get under way in the summer of 1941-1942. Five-hundred of these men were engaged on the project but the bulk of the work was done after the end of the War in 1945 by local labour. The pass was opened by the then Prime Minister, DF Malan on 1949 03 26.

In 1988 the Huguenot tunnel was built, shortening the route by eleven kilometers.

The road was upgraded to a dual carriageway from the tunnel to Rawsonville weigh bridge. In 1997 it was opened by the then Minister of Transport, Mac Maharaj.


Writings about this entry

Coyne, Patrick. 2010. A guide to South Africa's mountain passes and poorts. Westville: Osborne Porter Literary Services. pg 32-33
De Kock, Victor. 1952. Ons Drie Eeue : Our Three Centuries. Kaapstad: Sentrale Komitee van die Van Riebeeck-fees. pg 246 ill
Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1971. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 143(b)
Ross, Graham. 2002. The romance of Cape mountain passes. Cape Town: David Philip. pg 164-169