The 12km long Garcia Pass has a long and winding history dating pre 1860. The Pass connects the town of Riversdale with the famous Klein Karoo town of Ladismith. The effective combination of the Garcia Pass and its neigbour, the Tradouw Pass, extended trade into the interior during the pioneering days of the 1820 Settlers.

Maurice Garcia – an 1820 Settler of Jewish-Portuguese descent – was the first magistrate and divisional commissioner of Riversdale. Landdrosts were much more than mere enforcers of the law – they were also responsible for the general running of the town / district, taking on strong leadership roles…Garcia was no exception. Keen on exploring a new trading route into the north of the Langeberg Mountain, he ventured into the Goukou River Gorge on horseback, plotting a way through the mountains. By 1860, with the assistance of a small band of convicts, he build a bride path through the mountains for travellers on horseback. When the demand for a road that could support wagon traffic was later approved by parliament, Thomas Bain was put in charge of building the pass in 1872.

It turned out to be a long, difficult and troublesome project – and for once, Bain could not build his trademark quality road on the allocated budget. The project was started as soon as the nearby Tradouw Pass has been completed. Though his band of hard-working convicts were proficiently skilled by that stage, they were growing old and sickly – hence the Pass took four years to complete.

The second section, which Bain had to build over a longer 17km route, due to lack of finances, was rebuild and re-routed as soon as additional funds have been allocated. Bain was hard-pressed for time and resources at the time – simultaneously building two passed at the time – near Clanwilliam. The Pass was finally completed in 1877 and a total cost of 29356 pounds. This was quite interestingly, the only Pass Bain could not complete within his budget.