Sir John Montagu identified an urgent need to improve communications, including routes for commerce and trade, with the interior.
There were a number of passes through the mountain ranges, though none of them were direct. All used an indirect route and Montagu felt the need for find routes which saved time and therefore benefitted the young economy.
While researching the Mostertshoek Pass (to become Michell's Pass) near Ceres, with Andrew Geddes Bain, Montagu pointed out a valley running off to the south of the pass. He wondered if this valley perhaps offered a more direct route to the interior.
A few days later Bain and four farmers from Wagenmakers Vallei (now Wellington), never one to let grass grow under his feet, set out to explore the valley from the south side. It took a day on foot, but he worked out a path on which the pass could be built. The plans were ratified by engineer Charles Bell, and Montagu approved Bain's plan to build a pass through the mountains above Wellington. He completed the pass in 1853.
Bain, who had no formal engineering training, was the first man to build a road across the formidable Limietberge. Bain's Kloof Pass, one of the most picturesque and magnificently constructed passes in South Africa, is a National Monument which blends in perfectly with its natural surroundings.
Bainskloof Village, located some 10 km from Wellington into the Bainskloof mountain catchment area is a popular site and the location is used by the local residents and many church and environmental groups for recreational and educational purposes.
The area is ideal for environmental workshops as it is relatively unspoilt, and has a rich fynbos compliment. The Witte River is well managed and accommodation facilities are easily accessible.
More historical information and literature on Bain's Kloof Pass is available at the Wellington Museum including a brochure on A Self Guided Tour to Bain’s Kloof.
There are many interesting historical features which may be taken in while hiking in the reserve (Limietberg Reserve). There are Bushmen paintings, a disused manganese mine, Catspad (the original toll road from Franschhoek to Villiersdorp and indeed the forerunner to the Franschhoek Pass). and a cross erected by Italian prisoners of war.
Graves of convicts can be seen in the Bains Kloof Pass as well as an old prison at Tweede Tol campsite.