Barrydale is situated between two extremes. On the one side is the beautiful and fertile Tradouw Valley and on the other side you are faced with the stark and semi-arid Klein Karoo.

These striking contrasts are experienced in a distance of 10km. Two scenic drives will bring you to Barrydale. The N2 through Caledon and bypassing Swellendam, turning off onto the R324 after Buffelsjags via the Tradouws Pass. Barrydale is nestled at the foot of the Majestic Langeberge, in the Tradouw Valley, where the northern exit of the Tradouws Pass meets the R62 from Worcester, Robertson and Montagu.

For the lovers of nature Barrydale offers unsurpassed vistas of mountains. Hills and valleys are covered in flowers during spring and summer. Pleasant walks along footpaths in the semi-arid Klein Karoo to more adventurous climbs in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountain will take the hiker to places of beauty and tranquility. With an annual rainfall of 300mm it seems as if the sun is always shining and temperatures of 35C or even higher is very common in the middle of summer. During the afternoons, cool coastal breezes temper the heat and make the evenings pleasant.

The fruit harvesting season starts mid December and carries on until March, bringing with it an abundance of sun-ripened peaches, apricots, plums, apples and grapes, that is exported under the Cape Fruit label.

The Tradouw Pass The unusual word “tradau” means the way of the women”and is believed to be derived from the Khoi words tra, signifying “women” and dau, denoting “way through”. This is but one of thirteen passes that master road engineer Sir Thomas Bain built in the Southern Cape during the 1800’s and to fully appreciate the character of the Tradouw pass you have to delve into its vibrant days of yesteryear … The suggestion of a pass was raised in 1858. The farmers wanted Port Beaufort (Witsand) at the mouth of the Breede River made more accessible for their produce. In 1867 the Colonial secretary, Robert Southey, proposed in Parliament that the pass be built, using convict labour, “as soon as such was available”. (The pass was first named after him, but the name did not achieve popularity and after a few years it reverted to the traditional “Tradouw Pass”. Thomas Bain was instructed to do the planning and estimating. The Bain family moved into a lovely old farmhouse, Lismore, that belonged to the Barry family. Today the house still stands at foot of the Tradouw Pass and still belongs to the Barrys. In 1869 a work force of many convicts was transferred from the completed Robinson Pass between Oudtshoorn and Mosselbay. In the end of that year, four kilometres of difficult road, entailing a good deal of blasting, had been completed. The next year the number of convicts was drastically reduced and work slowed down accordingly. In 1873 Bain was transferred to plan and build the railway through Tulbagh Kloof. The qualified foreman, Mr Stephens, was left in charge. The Pass was declared open on 27th October 1873 by the Governor’s wife, Lady Barkley. Soon after its completion the farming community built a church at the northern end of the Pass and the town that grew around it was named in honour of the Barry family. Barrydale developed into a productive fruit farming area. In 1974, after years of planning, the Pass was rebuilt, widened in places, hairpin bends removed and completely tarred. 4000 aloes and 2500 indigenous trees and shrubs were planted. In 1980 the Tradouw Pass was re-opened. The Tradouw Pass is renowned for its wild flowers in the spring, clusters of blazing red aloes in late autumn, breathtaking waterfalls in the winter and magnificent swimming pools in summer. As you drive along, enjoy this beautiful Pass and admire Sir Thomas Bain’s genius for carving a pass through such rugged terrain without the help of modern technology.





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