Pas Op

Western Cape 300km BRM


A firm favourite with Cape Randonneurs is our version of the classic four passes ride.

Depending on season and speed, rider’s will see daybreak as they tackle the first of those climbs, Franschhoek Pass. The reward for the early effort being a fast, flowing descent through fynbos clad hillside followed by panoramic views across Theewaterskloof dam before the route swings left towards the first control of the day in Villiersdorp.

Faster riders will generally use the 24 hour Shell garage as a control, although those at the full-value end of the field may find a cafe open for an early coffee. The second pass of the day, Rooihoogte starts as soon as the road leaves the town behind, although from the Villiersdorp side it’s more of a steady incline than an actual climb. Once over the top a delightful tapestry of vineyards unfolds as the route descends through farmlands with the backdrop of the Matroosberg mountains beyond. Just before Worcester the route turns left to cross back over the Brede river and heads towards Rawsonville for the second control of the day.

Any of the shops or cafes in town can be used as a control, including the 24 hour Total garage at the far end of town after making the left turn towards Slanghoek. As an alternative, there is a bush pub around 5km further along on the right, close to the Goudini Spa turn. Service can sometimes be on the slow side, but the coffee and breakfasts are worth the wait for those riders taking a more leisurely ride. The next section is possibly one of the most scenic on any of the Cape Audaxes – the delightful Slanghoek valley, followed by a bumpy and occasionally underwater ford across the Brede, and culminating with the truly majestic climb over Bainskloof pass climb and down into Wellington beyond. Very few make it through this section without stopping several times to snap pictures to remember the day.

Control 3 in Wellington offers a wide variety of venues to get your card stamped – although many opt for the quick and easy option of the 24 hour Shell garage on the entry to the town. The shop itself was recently updated and their new cafe now pours a pretty decent Cappuccino or, if a quick burger and fries appeals more to your taste buds, there’s a Steers next door.

From here we follow familiar roads towards Hermon, with a short diversion out to Riebeek-West for Control 4. This spur was originally added purely to bring us up to full distance, but has now become a rather popular detour. On a sunny afternoon, there”s a pub on the left as you enter the town which makes a very pleasant stop for a quick drink before turning back towards the fourth and final pass of the day, Bothmaskloof. Again, a lesser climb than those already tackled, but with 235km under the wheels it can be a test for tired legs. Once over the top there is the delightful blast down to Malmesbury which, for those at the tail of the field, on a clear day will be accompanied with serene views of rolling Swartland farmlands bathed in late afternoon sunlight.

Control 5 is our regular favourite of the Engen/Wimpy in Malmesbury, sometimes a coffee or food stop for those who haven’t already over-indulged.

Either way, the remaining 50km leg home can be a welcome leg loosener or cruel final punishment, depending on that most predictable of Cape weather elements – the wind!


Browse through a previous 300km ride report, here.