Sir Lowry's Pass and Village

The mountain crossing in that region was known by the indigenous Khoi people as the Gantouw or Eland's Pass, and was used as a stock route. The Dutch and British settlers at the Cape built a rough pass called the Hottentots Holland Kloof Pass following the Gantouw route. The first recorded crossing was in 1664, and by 1821 the pass was seeing 4500 ox-wagons per year crossing into the interior, but the route was so severe that more than 20% of them were damaged. The ruts left by these wagons being dragged over the mountains can still be seen, and were declared a National Monument in 1958.


Starting in 1828, a new pass was constructed on the current route, about 2 km to the south of the Hottentots Holland Kloof, by the engineer Charles Michell using convict labour. The new pass was opened on 6 July 1830, and named after Lowry Cole, the Governor of the Cape Colony at the time. In the 1930s, the pass was widened and tarred; it was further improved in the 1950s, and in 1984 the upper parts were widened to four lanes in a reinforced concrete construction.


In 1846 there was a Post Office, run by a postmistress, Mrs Walters, and six farms in the area. 43 years later the first steam train stopped there in 1890. The railway station later became the Post Office. The waiting room was also used for English Church Services in 1925, as there was no church building at the time. Wild flowers grew in profusion on the mountains and hills around the village and selling them was a major source of income for the villagers in the early 1900s.


Today the little village is devided in a poor community with high unemployment in the rural part of the town, and flanked by up-market residential estates and various wine farms in the original part of the town..