"The Tradouw Pass, which means; "Women's Path", (in the old Khoi language). Is a 16 kilometer drive through an altitude range of 219 meters. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and rugged mountain drives, in the Langeberg! (This Pass is in the Top 20 Tarred Passes in the Western Cape on an overall rating)
It joins the Towns of Barrydale and Swellendam and was originally built by Thomas Bain. Extensively revamped in recent times, the engineering teams did an outstanding job of preserving the environment and retaining Thomas Bain's character in the design and supporting stonework. Prior to its major upgrade in 1974 the story of Tradouw Pass goes like this:
In 1858 the farmers made a request that a route be made from their farming district to Port Beaufort, at the mouth of the Breede River in order for them to transport their produce, it was only in 1867, nine years later that this was brought as a proposal to parliament. The proposal also included that it be built by convict labour. Sir Thomas Bain was the put in charge of the planning and estimating, and work commenced on the building in 1869. Over the course of the year the convicts worked hard and constructed over 4 km of road through very rough terrain, work which included a great deal of explosive blasting. The following year the number of convicts working on the project was drastically reduced and work slowed down. In 1973, the foreman who had been left in charge after Bain had been transferred, the pass was completed and declared open on 27th October 1873 by the Governor's wife, Lady Barkley. The farming community built a Church at the Northern end of the pass and although 15 years down the line, the community decided to name the Town built around the church: Barrydale, after the Barry family in whose house Sir Thomas Bain lived during the project. The house still stands at the foot of the Pass and still belongs to the Barry family.
("Just a thought- as you drive through this pass, spend a moment thinking of how hundreds of convicts headed up by Sir Thomas Bain carved it out of the rock, without the use of the machinery that would be used today! And just soak in the beauty that is Tradouw Pass.")