When this lovely pass in the Eastern Cape first cropped up, it immediately grabbed our interest as the name was most unusual and the question begged to be asked - how to pronounce that difficult name: 'Cunynghame'. It was only after researching the history that the embarrassing truth reared it's head as this is not a Xhosa name at all, but Irish and their version of the English name 'Cunningham'
We haul you off into the forests and mountains around Stutterheim and explore some of the natural beauty around Fort Cunynghame and dig deep into the period of the 9th Frontier War and uncover some of the myths and fables around heroes and villains circa 1879 and how this pass earned its name.
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This week we take you over Cole's Pass - a road which dates back as far as 1830 and traverses one of the most beautiful stretches of mountain plateaux in the Cape. The popular and knighted governor of the Cape at that time, was Sir Lowry Cole, who had not only the current Sir Lowry's Pass named after him, but the connecting road between Sir Lowry's Pass and Houw Hoek Pass as well.
We dig into the history of Cole, who was of Irish descent and earned his knighthood through a combination of bravery and hard work for the British crown. We also explore one of the oldest buildings along the pass dating back to 1834, where the very first liquor license in South Africa was granted.
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This week we head all the way to North-West province as we uncover the fascinating history of a small mountain pass on the main N4 highway that connects Botswana in the west with Mozambique in the east. There are only 4 passes on this long stretch of highway and our featured pass this week is the only one located on the western half of the N4.
We explore the most unlikely friendship between between King Mokgatle, leader of the Bofokeng nation in the 1800's and the now legendary Paul Kruger, and how Oom Paul almost lost his life in an arranged ambush and his subsequent escape from this precarious situation.
[To access our featured pass, expand this page by clicking the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]
This week we focus on the Outeniqua mountains in the Southern Cape and on one of it's three great passes. Once again, Thomas Bain features as the builder/designer of this lovely mountain pass, but the original road was a lot more dramatic than the modern road we travel on today.
As from this week we will be publishing all refilmed passes as they are published per week, plus any new passes, (besides our featured pass) in these weekly news releases.
[To access the featured pass of the week, expand this page by clicking on the title, photo or green READ MORE button]
This week we introduce you to a truly amazing mountain pass. Unfortunately it's only open to 4WD vehicles, but for those without, we can take you on a cyber drive with us into the heartland of the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo as we tackle the 16,2 km pass that traverses the mountain.
In our MPSA tours section, we bring you news of a revised tariff structure which is far simpler and should make the Western Cape subscribers more than happy to join us for a fabulously entertaining day driving the Cape's finest passes.
[To access the pass page links, expand this page by clicking the photo, the title 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.