Historic Passes

Long before man ever travelled up the pass, herds of eland, searching for greener pastures, crossed here in the winter months. Traditionally migratory elephants led by the herds matriarch, would make their way down to their grazing grounds on the Cape Flats. A Khoi tribe, known as Gantauwers (People of the Eland) also followed this pass. They called the path T’kanna Ouwe or Gantouw, ‘Gan’ being the Khoi word for eland and ‘touw’ the Khoi word for path. Later travellers also took up this meaning, calling it the Elandspat (path of the eland).

The topography of Johannesburg is distinctive with the rocky mountainous ridges and the line of koppies that runs from east to west. These are the quartzite ridges of the famous Witwatersrand. The geology is unique. Viljoen and Reimold (An Introduction to South Africa’s Geology and Mining Heritage) make the point that this is one of the few localities where the evolution of the granitic crust of Southern Africa has been preserved and can be viewed.

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