4x4 Trails | Exploring Botrivier's old railway line and cradling mountains surrounding it

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Traversing the Old Railway Pass between the Houw Hoek Inn and Botrivier
Traversing the Old Railway Pass between the Houw Hoek Inn and Botrivier
Gershwin Williams

• The guys at 'Off the Beaten Track' explore the Old Railway pass outside Botrivier.

• The journey takes them through the small town to Theewaterskloof Dam.

• 'Off the Beaten Track' has more than 200 active members.

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Hidden in the Western Cape is an abundance of 'old passes', and the guys at "Off The Beaten Track" are travelling them one by one. In their latest overland journey, 25 vehicles met at Houw Hoek Inn, along the N2, and then descended on the Houw Hoek pass, also known as the Old Railway pass.

On this 5km trip between Houw Hoek Inn and the town of Botrivier, you are greeted by the sight of the old railway line, while it meanders along the river. The pass leads you into the backend of Botrivier. The guys stopped for breakfast at The Shuntin Shed, an old railway station, that's been converted into a nostalgic restaurant and pub. With its vintage charm, the Shuntin Shed reminds why small towns are so attractive. Time seems to stand still for the brief moments that you're there.

READ: 4x4 Trails - Exploring Paarl Rock and the off-road tracks within the nature reserve

The convoy of 4x4s then headed over the Van Der Stel Pass, driving along gravel roads, through the farming areas, with majestic views of the green mountains cradling you on both sides of the road, while you kick up dust and head towards the Theewaterskloof Dam. Once the convoy reached the dam, the guys set up at Theewaters Sports Club for lunch, while the kids enjoyed the water. What a perfect setting, and a perfect end to a day of travelling.

Being a family man with three sons, I want my kids to experience the same kind of lives we had growing up: where our moms prepared boiled egg sandwiches that we ate next to the road at pull-off stops. You know those concrete benches along the long road.

I didn't want my kids growing up tablet and phone crazy, so my wife and I began undertaking mini road trips, and I documented it in YouTube and Facebook, so we'd always have the memories. Soon, people were asking to come along, and it just grew from there. As it currently stands, 'Off the Beaten Track' has over 200 members and I stand in awe of how quickly it grew. The members all share the same ideologies and values when it comes to nature and the outdoors, and all the while we involve our children.

Gershwin Williams is the founder of 'Off the Beaten Track'.

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Traversing the Old Railway Pass between the Houw Hoek Inn and Botrivier
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