This week, we invite you to travel to Limpopo Province with us as we explore a small, but interesting pass. In the 1860s, a group of Voortrekkers called the “Jerusalem Trekkers” set off to journey to the Holy Land. After coming upon a wide river flowing northwards, they consulted the maps at the back of their Bibles and decided that it was the source of the Nile River. They settled a town, and called it Nylstroom (Nile Stream).
They then discovered what they believed to be a ruined pyramid close by, and were even more convinced that they had reached Egypt. This was in fact a natural hillock, known to the locals as Modimolle, which is a Tswana word meaning “God has eaten”. After being named Nylstroom since its inception in 1866, the name of the town was changed to Modimolle in 2002. Our featured pass this week lies close to this delightful sliver of South African history.
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“Die Noute” translates directly into English as “The Narrows”, and this pass is probably named as such because it climbs up the mountains through a narrow kloof. But the term is often used idiomatically in Afrikaans, as in “as jy in die noute beland” which loosely translates to “if you have to tighten your belt”, so it could also refer to hardship and trouble. The pass is just 1.1 kms long and has a height difference of only 36 metres, but it traverses neatly through dense riverine forest, and in some ways is briefly reminiscent of the 7 Passes road between Knysna and George.
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.