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What's inside?

* Ben 10 Eco Challenge latest

* Cederberg Classic Tour (report back)

* Limpopo Tour (report back - Part 2)

* South African history - Part 18

* Podcast

* Pass of the week

* Words of wisdom


Ben 10 Eco Challenge update
The winter months always see a sharp decline in Ben 10 Eco Challenge entries and results, but each spring, all the adventurers return and this spring is no exception with a flurry of new entries coming in. The total numbers stand at 210 at present and of those 109 have successfully completed the challenge. That's a 52% success rate and goes to show that the challenge is a lot more difficult than what most people think.

In two weeks time, we head back to Elliot and Rhodes for our second official Ben 10 Tour which starts on Saturday the 21st September and ends on Tuesday 24th September. We can still accommodate 1 vehicle, but entries close tomorrow afternoon at 1700 (Friday 6th September). If you have any questions please refer to our tour booking page for pricing and other details. If you want to know more about the actual challenge, please visit our Ben 10 Eco Challenge page.

Cederberg Classic Tour (report back)
Day 2 of the tour required an early start as it was going to be a full day. Despite the forecast of 30C as a maximum temperature for the day, it was quite chilly early in the morning as the convoy rumbled northwards towards to the historic Matjiesrivier farm. The Wegener family graveyard is right next to the road and a bright display of orange daisies contained within the thick old stone walls of the cemetry created an instant photo opportunity. The site is lovingly tended and well worth stopping at. This tough settler family owned this farm for almost 200 years; the inscriptions on the tombstones reading like a history book.

[Read more lower down...]

Published in Mountain Passes News

A chat about social media and a visit to the Free State dorpie of Jagersfontein and it’s astonishing claim to fame on the world map.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

This chat covers the second half of the tour through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

A chat about the Golden Gate National Park and the Lichens Pass which bisects it.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

A chat about Day 3 – the final day of the Thomas Bain Heritage Tour over the four major passes in the Bioreserve.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

Newsletter In a nutshell

* Bain Tour continued
* SA History Part 12
* Podcast
* Feature on the Golden Gate Highlands National Park
* New passes added
* Words of wisdom


Very cold weather weather has continued over most of South Africa and in the Western Cape the last frontal storm has boosted dam levels to a four year high, with Theewaterskloof - the bigggest storage dam in the area - currently sporting a level of 60% with the City of Cape Town's average level of all the dams currently at 69.6%. This is wonderful news for the province which has laboured heavily under a long and devastating drought. It also augers well for a good wild-flower display this spring,

Thomas Bain Heritage Tour ~ The saga continues...

The weather on Saturday morning in Uniondale was rainy, cold and blustery, necessitating a Plan B for our drivers briefing, which was to get everyone into their vehicles and the briefing was done over the two way radios. This was the day the frontal system was supposed to clobber us, but as the day progressed it became increasingly pleasant, much to everyone's surprise.

We took a quick drive up the tarred Uniondale Heights Pass, then left the tar a few kilometres later as we cut across the Karoo highlands to intersect with the R332 near the summit of the Nuwekloof Pass. The rain that had fallen overnight gave us the benefit of a dust free drive as we made good progress into the east.

The Nuwekloof Pass was designed by Thomas Bain and it's an odd pass being a mixture between a pass and a poort, rather than a true mountain pass, but after a series of long sweeping bends, suddenly a hairpin bend makes an appearance and it is here that a sign proclaims the spot to be Raaskrans (Noisy Cliff). A towering near vertical cliff of some 80m in height forces the road (and the river) to the north-east and although awkward to stop, the spot is really a place where you need to get out of your vehicle and take in the spectacular geology. The hairpin is concreted and although the gradient is fairly gentle it soon becomes apparent that the concrete serves as the bed of the river for a distance of about 100m. It was bone dry during our traverse, but this must be a particularly nasty section in a flash-flood. The rest of the descent sees the road criss-crossing the river multiples of times as the road winds down the ravine and finally the poort opens up onto the upper plains of the western Baviaanskloof, which we had the good fortune of viewing under the arch of a massive rainbow.

Published in Mountain Passes News

A chat covering Day 2 of the Thomas Bain Heritage Tour.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

A chat about the first day of the Thomas Bain Heritage Tour.

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

Thomas Bain Heritage Tour -  Overview:

Another absolute winner, but the week before the tour showed alarming weather forecasts. As always the show goes on regardless of the weather. With a major frontal storm scheduled to arrive over Cape Town on Friday and Saturday, with gale force winds and bitterly cold temperatures forecast of 1C for Willowmore, we sent out an urgent bulletin to our guests to come well prepared for bad weather. 

The reality was a beautiful, sunny and warm morning of around 22C on day 1 rising to 25C later in the day with the Saturday and Sunday being cooler, but very pleasant and certainly nowhere near the 1C predicted. Water levels in the Baviaanskloof were quite acceptable and all our vehicles (which included two Suzuki Jimnys) made it through the route without any problems or mishaps. Over the next few weeks we will bring you several instalments of the highlights of this tour. This is another tour which we will definitely repeat again.


Great Swartberg Tour - The final chapter

The final day of the Swartberg Tour involved a repeat of the Elands Pass and the Gamkaskloof but in the opposite direction. It's so interesting that a pass looks completely different when driving it in the opposite direction and at a different time of day. We were at the Teeberg viewsite by 10.30 and then tackled those magnificent switchbacks down Mullerskloof past Droewaterval and the Wall of Fire. Our weather was unseasonably good with the only damper being the dust (if you'll pardon the oxymoron).

A brief stop at Prince Albert for fuel and figs (in that order) saw us back on the road on the way to the magnificent geology waiting for us in Meiringspoort and a short stop at the famous waterfall with its 9m deep pool. After De Rust we cut west all along the foothills of the Swartberg mountains (mainly to avoid all the roadworks on the Oudtshoorn/De Rust road) along a delightful gravel road that included the Rust & Vrede Pass. It connected us with the main road to the Cango Caves and Schoemanspoort and then back towards Calitzdorp on the old cement road and on to tackle the Rooiberg Pass.
[More lower down...]

Published in Mountain Passes News

We chat about the fabulous descent down Elands Pass into Die Hel and explore the Kloof in more detail..

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Published in MPSA Podcasts

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Mountain Passes South Africa

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.
 

Master Orientation Map

Master Orientation Map 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.

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