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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Robinson Pass

Afrikaans name: Robinsonpas

Robinson Pass

Robinson Pass

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Western Cape

Robinson Pass was built between 1867 and 1869 by convicts under the leadership of Thomas Bain, who had just completed building the Prince Alfred’s Pass. The intention of the pass was to reduce the distance between Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay by 50 km. In the 1950’s, and early 1960’s, the pass had extensive renovations that included reconstruction and tarring. Some say that the reconstruction took away some of the scenic beauty and excitement of the pass, but it certainly made it safer and easier to drive.

The pass rises to 840 metres above sea-level and offers beautiful views. Unfortunately, the pass is often covered in mist preventing one from enjoying these views. One should take any opportunity to pull over where it is safe and spend some time taking in the scenery. Travelling the pass will definitely give you some good memories.

The pass was named after the Commissioner of Roads M.R. Robinson.

Robinson Pass has claimed a number of lives over the years and care should be exercised when driving it. In January 1988 a tragic bus accident claimed the lives of 13 police officers and injured 71. The bus plunged off the road and dropped around 100 metres. The policemen were gymnasts who were on their way to give an exhibition in Mossel Bay.

Robinson Pass

Above - Robinson Pass

Photo © Johan van Zyl

On top of Robinson Pass

Above - On top of the pass going towards Oudtshoorn

Photo © Johan van Zyl

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References and further reading

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 99

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 120

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 47

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