Tweedetol and The Long and Winding Pass

Tweedetol is part of the Limietberg Nature Reserve. It is situated about 15km from Wellington (1.5hrs from Cape Town) along the long and winding (wonderfully scenic, yet breathtakingly scary) Bainskloof pass.

Every year for the past 5 or 6 years we have made a tradition of our annual trip to Tweedetol. We are not campers so we make a day trip of it and boy is it a LONG day.

Every year we have gone progressively earlier as the queues of cars to get in has gotten longer and longer. In December 2013 we had the bright idea of leaving home at midnight. Any sane person would find this extreme and we had to be slightly insane to do this but experience has taught us: rather be the early bird that catches the worm than the fool that has to drive an hour and a half back to Cape Town after a 6 hour wait!

So we started our long drive, our boots packed with all the essentials. We took the N1 all the way to and through Wellington. It was unfortunate that we missed out on the sunrise that we usually catch along Bainskloof pass as it is Stunning. The Pass is HIGH and very narrow with, at times, just a row of strategically placed rocks to separate your car from a nasty accident. Choose your best driver to drive especially if you are driving in the dark as the bends are often sharp and abrupt. Drive it slowly and try to take in the magnificent scenery.

Bainskloof Pass

Bainskloof Pass

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We Arrived at the Tweedetol entrance to find that there was about 30 cars ahead of us at 2am! This was astounding, as the previous year we arrived at 3/4 am and we were the 2nd car. We started to get concerned as we are well aware that they only allow 150 visitors into the site per day and surely there were more than 150 people ahead of us. We decided to stick it out as there aren’t many other sites in the vicinity and we had never been turned away before.

In that line of cars, we observed some of the most irresponsible parents. There was a family sleeping on blow up matresses on the road, directly next to the yellow line. There were kids walking up and down on the road and it was dark and the road is very narrow. With all the cars parked in the left lane, the road is reduced to a single lane with traffic in both directions. It is ridiculous that they do not have a pre-sold pass system like Crystal Pools as these thing are hazardous.

Cars and People everywhere- Safety hazard

Cars and People everywhere- Safety hazard

Okay, so with 6 hours to burn the obvious thing to do would be to try to sleep (in your car, not on the road). So being my super prepared self, I had my memory foam pillow and my eyemask and was ready to go. It is damn difficult to sleep in the front seat of a car though. The night sky is stunning there so if you struggle to sleep then enjoy the view. It should be so serene until…. inconsiderate people start playing music from their cars! Who does that?!

By 8am the doors finally opened. By this time our muscles were all stiff from trying to sleep in the car and we were starving. We were eventually allowed in after some begging and pleading. Loads of cars had to turn around though, so if you intend on going then be prepared and have a backup plan.

This is the reason we go through so much effort to go to this place every year:

Braai spots

Braai spots

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Clear water

Clear water

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How many places has it all like Tweedetol does? It has braai spots; amazingly refreshing clear water, a trail that allows you to see (and jump from) beautiful waterfalls and the stunning backdrop of the mountains. The natural beauty is really something to behold especially along the trail.

Speaking of the trail, it is quite an easy trail but in the summer sun it is long. It takes approximately an hour in each direction and there is no shade, so take plenty of water and sunblock. I would advise you to wear good quality water shoes as you need to cross the river in parts and the stones are very slippery. Many have lost a flip-flop or two.

There are toilets and tap water available which is a definite plus. Take your own toilet paper ofcourse. There are no shops near Tweedetol so take everything needed along including braai wood and briquettes.

We always have a wonderful time at Tweedetol but it is tiring and the preparations to go is also exhausting. We would definitely go back again but we vowed that we would NEVER go on Christmas or Boxing day again. If we do ever go during these periods then we would camp as the prep is just not viable as a day trip (especially sleeping in your car for 6 hours). It was also very crowded which made it quite unpleasant.

Tips

  • If you have a magical way of keeping flies away from the campsite then use it
  • Swim with water shoes as the rocks are slippery
  • Take thick blankets and pillows to sit on (pillows to sleep in the car)
  • There is no cellphone reception at all so just leave your phone in the car
  • We usually take a 5L water as you tend to get dehydrated and the taps there are very slow
  • You may get a braai spot with no shade- be prepared, take an umbrella or gazebo
  • On our last trip we only made sausage on the braai, this saved a lot of time and energy as it was about 35 degrees
  • Apparently camp spots get booked out a year in advance for the December holiday

The Details

All the details you need can be found at Cape Nature

Entrance Fee: R30

No booking for day visitors

-Imaan

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3 thoughts on “Tweedetol and The Long and Winding Pass

  1. I went as a child and haven’t been back since, refusing to leave home at 2am to get a spot. I would love to go back, in my memories it is beautiful. Thanks for the post.

  2. Pingback: Things to do in and around Cape Town (& surrounds) this festive season | Suitcases and Lattès

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