Francois du Toit who owned the Kleinbosch farm near Paarl, was the first person to moot the idea of a possible route through the formidable mountain range separating Paarl from Worcester. In the 1850's Andrew Geddes Bain had built the wonderful Bains Kloof Pass further to the west, which would serve as the main route north via Ceres into the Karoo for a period of almost 100 years.
This week we bring you the history of the developement of the first proper road through the shorter route, today known as Du Toits Kloof Pass and named in honour of Francois du Toit.
[To access the pass page, click on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]
Each week we bring you something different and this week we take you off into the high altitude region of the Eastern Cape, fairly close to the KZN border to the little town of Matatiele. This mountainous region offers a range of gravel road passes ranging from extreme 4x4 to the more gentle gravel passes which are doable in a normal sedan vehicle.
Matatiele lies very close to the Lesotho border post of Rama's Gate, which access road itself is a tough 4x4 only road guarded by the military and police to prevent stock theft. It's not unusual to be driving down this track from Lesotho, to be stopped by the military touting automatic weapons, who will want to check your vehicle for hidden sheep and goats. Nothing to worry about. It's completely legitimate.
[To access the featured pass page, expand this page by clicking on the title, the photo or the green READ MORE button]
Easter is done and dusted; as is the third month of 2016. Once again, alcohol and speed appear to be the main culprits with a road death toll which in any other country would cause a day of national mourning, but in South Africa, we have become desensitized and accept this carnage as being normal. It would seem, that traffic was as bad as ever with motorists in the major urban areas spending many frustrating hours in gridlocked traffic. We used the opportunity to refilm some of our first passes which we produced as far back as 2012 in an effort to get some of the old videos up to 2016 standards.
We headed off to the Cederberg and even there the traffic was fairly heavy with dust being the major issue to contend with. Our featured pass this week holds the South African record of the pass with the most names.
[To access the featured pass page link, expand this page by clicking on the title, the photo or the green READ MORE button]
With all the public holidays available this month, what is better than packing the car and heading off to some distant destination, discovering new horizons and escaping the urban jungle? Lying within reach of a day's drive from Cape Town, it is possible to get to our very remote and off the beaten track featured pass of the week, as it lies close to the border of the Western and Northern Cape. It is preferable to overnight in the area and there are plenty of accommodation options available.
This excellent gravel road offers a circular route through the mountains and plains of the Northern Cape near Nieuwoudtville and traverses three nature reserves in a smorgasborg of floral delights all year round, ranging from the most delicate spring flowers from August to October and the biggest Quiver tree forest that we have ever discovered plus an opportunity to check out the diversity of succulents in the Knersvlakte. This is a wonderworld for those who seek out the tiniest succulents that have adapted to the harsh climate of the Northern Cape.
[To access the lnk to the pass page, click on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]
Our featured this pass is in Mpumalanga where the Kaaprivier forms a poort and alongside which runs a lovely, scenic tarred pass, packed with sharp corners and attractive riverside scenery. Our padmaker who built this pass and had it named in his honour was born in Australia in 1874. He then enlisted to fight in the second Anglo-Boer War and left Queensland for South Africa. After his military discharge in 1902, he went on to find employment in the Public Works Department of the Transvaal province.
[To access the rest of this story, click on the title, the photo or the green READ MORE button]
Mountain Passes South Africa is a website dedicated to the research, documentation, photographing and filming of the mountain passes of South Africa.
Passes are classified according to provinces and feature a text description, Fact File including GPS data, a fully interactive dual-view map and a narrated YouTube video.
We are as passionate about maps as we are about mountain passes. A good map is a thing of beauty that can transport you into the mists of time or get your sense of adventure churning. It is a place to make discoveries about deserts and seas, mountains and lakes; of roads leading into places you have not been before; a place to pore over holiday destinations or weekend camping trips. A map is your window to the world.