LOUVAIN: Paradise of Passes!
It was late afternoon when we made our way to Louvain Guest Farm. This tranquil working farm is situated in the upper Langkloof valley between George and Uniondale. As we turned in at the gate I got that feeling of excitement and adventure. There was a reason for us visiting Louvain, it’s called the Duiwelskop 4×4 Pass, one of the most dangerous and harmful passes of the midst 18th century.
We met Michael at reception. He accompanied us to our luxurious resting place for the night. Louvain is the absolute perfect destination for the adventurer, the historian and the romantic. They can cater your ideal overnight stay before your exciting day of taking on the passes. If you want to stay longer in this relaxed country style atmosphere with nature on your doorstep – the accommodation is just super. It varies from “Stables” (sleeps 3×7) “Fiela se Huis” (sleeps 8), “The Dairy” (sleeps 10), “The Homestead” (sleeps 20). All styled luxuriously with en suite rooms and beautiful clean bathrooms. They cater for everyone’s needs with fully equipped kitchens and indoor/outdoor braais and a big swimming pool for those lazy hot days.
Woke up at sunrise and went for a walk. This magnificent farm is an historic gem that marks the beginning of the Seven Passes and beholds the most significant views and beautiful fynbos along the old Ox Wagon 4×4 route. This scenic route is not just for the 4×4 enthusiast but also for the young of heart that likes hiking or cycling. Louvain is also the perfect venue to say your I do’s. They have the most perfect, absolutely dazzling wedding venue in the forest under the alluring Ox Wagon Trail. The new venue is big enough to accommodate 400 guests and all your dreams. There’s also a church that was built in 1852. In 1855 it was consecrated as St John the Baptist in the Wilderness.
I was curious and fascinated about the famous Ox Wagon Trail that originated in 1776. Colonists used it as a trade route between the coast and the Langkloof valley. Schoonberg is positioned at the foot of a mountain overpassing the Outeniqua Mountains. It was used by the San and Khoi Khoi for many years and they called it “Nannidow” – defined as “finger-path” – since it was such a narrow and dangerous route. It was later upgraded by the early pioneers and renamed Duiwelskop(Devil’s Head). The pathway was incredibly precipitous and rocky, similar to a very steep and uneven flight of stairs. Wagons had to be lifted with excessive force.
The pass was upgraded by Thomas Bain in 1864 to what is currently the narrow and quite technical 30km 4×4 route. The trail was still regularly used by many until the Montagu Pass opened in 1847. For many years after that the pass was barely used due to its unreliable nature. A few years ago the farmer of Louvain converted the tricky “Ox Wagon Trail” into a 4×4 route – for vehicles with low range and good ground clearance. Get your permit for the route at Louvain Guest Farm for your Ultimate Epic 4×4 Adventure!!!
Artikel: Christian Liebenberg