The National Road from Grabouw to Bot River winds through to the glorious Houw Hoek Pass. Early travellers on their way eastwards were faced by the formidable 896 m Houwhoek mountain only 25 km after they had struggled through the Hottentot Mountains. Houw Hoek became a resting spot for the travellers, their horse and oxen before they travelled downward into the heart of the Overberg.
View from Houw Hoek Farm Stall
Initially the mountain was variously called Hout Hoek because of all the timber around the glen, and Houw Hoek because of the holding back required of the oxen descending it. Grooves cut into rock by wagon wheels mark the earliest track, which was superseded in 1831 by the engineer of Sir Lowry's pass, Sir George Mitchell. Further rerouting and reconstruction culminated in the superb highway that takes you across the mountain today.
The village of Houw Hoek, famous for its inn which was established in 1834 to cater for the needs of wagoners who outspanned at the top of the pass and as a staging post for horse drawn traffic, is now bypassed by the highway. It is the oldest inn in South Africa and is still fully operational with much of its original charm.
Houw Hoek also has an intriguing tent-camp, Foresthall, which offers self-catering accommodation in the most luxurious tents imaginable. Travellers can also stay at the historical Wildekrans Country House and experience outstanding hospitality.
Wildekrans country House
Houw Hoek also has a wonderful farm stall and restaurant with stunning views.
Pic of Houw Hoek Inn © www.ericandleandra.com