The Hottentot’s Holland Mountain range, which runs along the eastern edge of Somerset West and Gordons Bay, would have been difficult for early travellers to traverse. On a clear day, you can see the range from the southern suburbs of Cape Town, making the peak one of the Western Cape’s most breathtaking settings. Sir Lowry’s Pass now makes it simple to overcome this formidable natural barrier.
The beauty of this pass, which is frequently shrouded in mist and rain, more than makes up for the haphazard traffic lights that grace the N2’s tardy passage through Somerset West and around Gordons Bay, which invariably causes bumper-to-bumper jams and prompt sales among the posse of self-employed salesmen who dart in among the cars with the newest sunglasses, hats, cell phone chargers, and other accessories.
However, Sir Lowry’s Pass is much more than just a way to cross a challenging mountain range. As one approaches the top of the pass on the western side of the N2, the car park offers an ideal pit stop for those interested in wildlife and bird watching to explore the region. The mountain fynbos is relatively accessible in this area, and it takes three to four hours to explore the mountainside and the lower areas where streams become densely vegetated and make ideal bird hiding places.
Sir Lowry’s Pass, which is on the town side, offers some genuinely breathtaking views of False Bay, while the Elgin Valley, which lies on the other side of the mountain, is a stunning valley filled with forests, orchards, fruit orchards, flower gardens, and vineyards. This region of the world is a show of fruit trees in bloom and heavy with grapes on the vine in the spring.