Pont at Malgas
Pont at Malgas
The Malgas pont (short for pontoon) over the Breede River in the Overberg, Western Cape, is the last hand-drawn pont in South Africa.
Before roads made travel from Cape Town easy. Malagas was an inland port for steamboats transporting provisions to the Swellendam area. The Breede river is navigable for around 50km inland to Malgas. That is why this was once an important trading port that served the whole area.
When Malgas fell into disuse as a port, the authorities decided there wasn’t sufficient traffic to justify the building of a bridge. But the pont at Malgas lived on – a service begun in 1860 and still operating today. Two men use harnesses and a pulley system to physically draw the ferry across the water to the other side of the river.
Vehicles and pedestrians are manually hauled across the river, with special rates for livestock. This service operates from sun up to sunset. The ferry can comfortably take three vehicles across at a time.
Today it remains the only way of crossing the Breede River by vehicle on the back roads between the N2 outside Swellendam and Cape Infanta.
Malagas was the name of a Hottentot chief, whose kraal was situated near the site. The name of the village was changed to Malgas because in the olden days, post for the village ended up in Malaga Spain!
The pont at Malgas is the last working example in South Africa. Take a drive and experience a service from a bygone era?
To reach Malgas in the Hessequa region, take the turn-off from the N2 in the Western Cape. You will find the tutn off just after Swellendam and then just follow the signposts.
Die Malgas Pond
Die laaste werkende Pond in Suis Afrika is die een in die Overberg by Malgas. Hier word jy en jou voertuie nog met die hand en tou oor die rivier geneem. Gaan beleef hierdie uitsonderlike vervoermiddel uit vervloë tye eerstehands.