Also known as "the Hell", is a fascinating valley near Prince Albert, where a small, proud community lived in isolation for more than 100 years. Access was on foot and horseback and harvests of dried fruit and wild honey were carried out by pack animals.
Legend has it that Gamkaskloof was discovered when trekboers lost their cattle and followed their spoor into the fertile valley. Petrus Swanepoel was the first to farm there and the valley supported the hard-working community until 1962 when a road was carved into the valley. A gradual exodus occurred and the last farmer to leave was Piet Swanepoel in 1991.
In 1881 construction began in the Swartberg Pass but it was only in 1883, when Thomas Bain took over the project, that work started in earnest. In 1886 the pass was opened to the public - but at their own risk, as construction was still under way.
The post-coach left the Prince Albert Hotel every morning at 6.00am, on one occasion the driver stopped at the little settlement at the top of the pass for a cup of coffee and returned to find his coach gone - the horses had headed back towards Prince Albert and the warmth of their stable.
The Swartberg Pass was officially opened on 10th January 1888. In 1904 Dr Russell from Oudtshoorn drove the first motorcar over the pass.