A chat about pre-trip preparations for the Ben 10 Tour and a focus on the recent floods in the Baviaanskloof and the effect on tourism.
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This is the story of our first official tour of the Ben 10 Eco Challenge from 21st to 24th March, 2019.
We take you from the roots of the conceptualisation of the event through each of the 4 days as well as the epilogue.
Every person planning on doing the challenge should read this story and watch the four piece video set, which shows just how difficult it can get when nature decides to turn against you, and how quickly an adventure can turn into a disaster. It also showcases the incredible scenery and wonderful people that live in the area. Soak it all in.
Last week we gave you an overview of the Ben 10 Eco Challenge Official Tour. This week we look into the first of the four days in more detail which illustrates the human interactions as the large group of people slowly bonded together to form a cohesive unit, taking care of each other, to ensure a successful outcome for all. The full story encompassing 23 chapters will be published over the next 3 weeks and thereafter will be permanently embedded under a separate menu tab on the main Ben 10 page. [More lower down...]
Our next 1 day tour in the Western Cape takes place on Easter Sunday (21st April) and includes 3 gravel and 3 tarred passes in the mountains north of Ceres. The route includes the magnificent Droelandskloof Pass with the anchor pass being the ascent and descent of the Wapadsberg Pass - a major climb to an amazing view-site. The route is suitable for any vehicle with reasonable ground clearance. We still have space left, so if you're looking for something different to do over that long Easter break, bring the whole family along as our prices are per vehicle and not per person. Book online here.
This brand new bespoke tour will take place during June or July over three days starting in George and ending in Patensie. It will include the 7 Passes Road, Gouna Pass, Kom se Pad, Prince Alfred's Pass, Uniondale Poort > Overnight in Uniondale for some spookstories.
Day 2 will route through a southern approach to the stunning Nuwekloof Pass and down into the western Baviaanskloof where we will visit a tree house, the Makedaat caves, a bonsai nursery and negotiate the 8 water crossings through Studtis Poort with an overnight stop at the Zandvlakte guest farm.
Day 3 will be spent exploring the Baviaanskloof eastern bio-reserve and include the passes of Grasnek, Langkop, Holgat and Combrinks with an overnight stop at Bruintjieskraal on the banks of the Grootrivier. The next day a short drive out through the Grootrivierpoort will end the tour at Patensie. No less than 12 of the passes on this tour were either designed or built by Thomas Bain. Bookings for this tour will open in a week's time. The tour is only open to 4WD vehicles.
We also examine the April Fools Day phenomenon and explore the extraordinary success of our April's Fool post on Facebook. At the time of writing the post had 41,778 views over a 72 hour period. Remarkably the post (which took 5 minutes to knock together) ranks as one of our most successful posts ever. Understanding the power of social media is complex with this post knocking all the standard barriers down. [More lower down...]
In keeping with our theme on the challenge passes, we feature another of the big 10 passes in the Eastern Cape Highlands. [More lower down]
New entries for the Ben 10 Eco Challenge will still be accepted, where the Ben MacDhui Pass will be substituted by the Bottelnek Pass.
Please under no circumstances should anyone trespass the Tiffindell property or tamper with the gate boom locks. Respect the landowners decisions. We will be following developements closely and make all attempts to get access to the Ben MacDhui Pass as soon as is practical. The owners have made it clear that any attempts at trespassing will result in prosecution. Cameras have been set up to catch trespassers. You have been warned.
THE LINK FOR THE ENTRY FORM IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. PLEASE READ ALL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS BEFORE COMPLETING THE ENTRY FORM.
01. The challenge is open and free to 4x4 vehicles, adventure motorcycles, MTB riders, walkers and trail runners. (Note that it is not possible to complete some of the passes in a normal car). MTB cyclists, walkers and runners are permitted to move between passes per vehicle. It is a requirement to be a paid up subscriber to MPSA at the time of registration. This is to ensure that every entrant has full access to all the safety and technical information available on the website. The nominated 10 passes must be drivern, ridden, run or walked within a time frame of 7 days.
A discussion on the tarring of the Sani Pass; Tiger fishing at lake Jozini; Understanding the new search functionality on the website; Ben 10 Challenge update, and a look at the Thomas Bain Rooihoogte Pass.
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A discussion on the new Ben 10 Eco Challenge Official Tour.
Listen to the interview:
A Record Breaking Month
The month of March is almost history and it's been a month of breaking new ground. We have just reached our highest ever readership on this website with 108,000 page views so far for a single month and our FaceBook feature on the Langeni Pass last week, was viewed 72,490 times, generating 2,300 Likes, 128 shares and 143 interactive comments. Of interest was the number of people involved in the construction who posted relevant and fascinating comments.
We are honoured to have been nominated for an award by the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs in the category 'Standardisation and/or Public Awareness of Geographical Names' and we thank everyone who posted messages of congratulations and encouragement on the Face Book entry. More on the award lower down this page...
Ben 10 Eco-Challenge Update
We had the first lady, Llesyri Joa, completing the Ben 10 Eco Challenge on an adventure motorcycle, thereby setting the bar not only for other ladies, but for the guys as well. The top 10 places for the challenge have now been booked in perpetuity and can be seen on the website, where the entry form is also available. Ben 10 Eco Challenge - Results and Entry Form.
Win a GoPro
As an incentive for those sitting on the fence and a reward for those that have already subscribed, we will be drawing the name of one lucky subscriber to win a GoPro4 Silver video camera. This will take place after the 31st August, when the incentive offer closes. Subscribe on this link for just R200 per year. MPSA - SUBSCRIBE
Wild Coast Radio
Wild Coast Radio in East London have us live on air, every Monday at 3.30pm for a 10 minute mountain pass talk. We will be posting the podcasts of these interesting chats on the website as soon as we receive them.
Featured pass of the week
Our featured pass this week is one of the passes of the Ben 10 Eco-Challenge and ranks as one of our personal favourites for its wonderful scenery, big altitude and general enjoyment. It offers waterfalls, a challenging drive, complete isolation and some of the finest Southern Drakensberg scenery you will find. We plan on keeping the featured pass 'open' each week for a day or two, to illustrate to potential subscribers the value that they can enjoy.
To drive ten specific high altitude gravel passes within a time frame of seven days, whilst enjoying the beautiful Eastern Cape highlands scenery. In the process you will be supporting eco-tourism in this remote part of the Eastern Cape, thereby uplifting the local population.
01. Ben MacDhui Pass (3001m)
02. Carlisleshoekspruit Pass (2563m)
03. Volunteershoek Pass (2581m]
04. Naudes Nek Pass (2590m]
05. Lundin’s Nek Pass (2170m)
06. Joubert’s Pass (2234m)
07. Bastervoetpad Pass (2240m]
08. TTT [Tiffindell-Tenahead Traverse] (2720m)
09. Otto du Plessis Pass (2115m)
10. Barkly Pass (2018m)
Drive, ride, cycle, run or walk all 10 passes within 7 days, taking time to discover the natural wonders of the Eastern Cape Highlands and enjoy the local hospitality. This is not a race, but rather an opportunity to embrace eco-tourism in its finest form. The best places to secure accommodation are around Rhodes. Please support the businesses that are supporting this challenge and providing the prizes, which include 2 nights free accommodation. The prizes will be drawn by lucky draw once we reach the first 20 completed entries and again at 40 entries, ad infinatum.
Entry Form link below.
Here is a video made by Behan Boshoff (In Search Of Stories), which illustrates just how tough the challenge really is (especially as the entire challenge was completed in a day):
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.