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Part of the Seven Passes route between George and Knysna in the Western Cape Province, the steep Phantom Pass has sweeping views of the Knysna River valley as the road snakes through picturesque sylvan farmland, bubbling streams and dense indigenous forests.
The Phantom Pass is named after the swarms of phantom moths that appear here every spring.
Prior to the construction of the pass, transport riders travelling between the 2 towns could wait for days to cross swollen rivers and were forced to dismantle their wagons to negotiate steep sections of the makeshift route. Then in the 1860s, the great roadbuilder Thomas Bain was tasked with establishing a permanent road between George and Knysna. The resulting Seven Passes route is a beautiful gravel road that crosses 7 ravines and 10 rivers over more recent Edwardian stone bridges. Bain’s original wooden bridges have long since perished but the stone pillar supports can still be seen. The route took 15 years to complete.
Today this classic pass is a scenic route and eco-friendly destination rather than a busy thoroughfare.
Top 6 reasons to visit Phantom Pass
1. Enjoy the peace and quiet in the Phantom Pass area bird watching, taking long forest walks and canoeing along the river.
2. The town of Knysna is a hub of activity with modern amenities, a waterfront and buzzing marina alongside the 13km² lagoon and a wealth of restaurants.
3. This section of the Garden Route offers a range of water-related activities; suntan and swim at the various beaches, otherwise fish off the beach at nearby Buffelsbaai (buffalo bay) or take a chartered deep sea fishing trip out into the Indian Ocean.
4. A drive to the old gold rush town of Millwood is worthwhile to explore the hills pitted with mine shafts and abandoned machinery. The original Millwood house was dismantled and taken to Knysna where... Show more