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This week we bring you something completely different. We head up to the North-West Province of South Africa and focus on the towns of Parys and Vredefort, where we take a look at a good gravel road that traverses a section of the World Heritage site, known as the Vredefort Structure - an astonishing event that happened billions of years ago when an asteroid the size of Table Mountain slammed into the earth, leaving behind the biggest crater of its kind in the world, known to scientists. We explore this event in more detail and invite you to cyber drive this pass with us. It's definitely one for the bucket list!

[To access the hyperlink, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

The flower season is almost over, but here and there the mountain slopes in the Western and Northern Cape are still smothered in purple or yellow flowers. The long weekend  over the 24th to 27th September, provided the perfect opportunity to do some filming of some of the more obscure passes in the Northern Cape and the northern sectors of the Western Cape. We uncovered ten new passes to delight and lure the more adventurous travellers to explore this amazing country of ours. But more of those in the coming weeks....

This week we take you to the border of the two Cape provinces as we descend down one of the great historic passes near the Northern Cederberg. This one is gravel road heaven!

[To access the hyperlink to this pass, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

Phutaditjhaba is a massive sprawling complex of villages just to the north of Lesotho in the southern Free State. We weave you carefully, but accurately through this maze of interconnecting villages from the R712 midway between the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and historic Harrismith, to uncover a gem of a gravel pass that is both challenging in terms of its steepness, but also for its rough surface, both factors which are adequately compensated by extraordinarily magnificent scenery from above the 2000m contour line. It's another one of those 'Roads less Travelled'

[To access the hyperlink to this pass, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

Those of you that closely follow our production schedule will have noticed over the past 3 weeks, that we have been adding many new passes in the provinces of North-West, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State. Today, we are finally focusing on South Africa's largest city as we explore the history of the outright shortest pass on our website at only 290m. That is one way to make it into the record books!

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Published in Mountain Passes News

Spring is the very best time to travel. Whether you are in the summer rainfall regions with all the new spring growth happening or the Western and Northern Cape with its stunning display of wild-flowers - there is something for everyone across this beautiful country we live in.

This week we bring you something with a completely different touch as we head into the southern Free State towards the Golden Gate Highlands National Park via our featured pass this week and what makes it special is that this is our first pass filmed from a motorcycle.

[To read more and access the pass page and video link, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

This week we draw you back to the Fairest Cape as we check out one of South Africa's light houses and a mountain pass which allows you perfect views of it. Our featured pass takes a look at a brilliantly camouflaged gun emplacement which guarded our western shores through a world war and we look at the nearby lighthouse which happens to be the tallest steel lighthouse in South Africa with its beam flashing its warning 41 metres above sea level. There are shipwrecks, a tiny harbour, beautiful beaches, crayfish, kelp and some of the biggest waves that lure serious surfers from around the globe.

Our header photo is by our favourite South African landscape photographer, Hougaard Malan, whose work we have featured many times on this site.

[To access the hyperlink, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

The Khyber Pass in Afghanistan is one of the most notoriously dangerous and difficult high altitude passes in the world. But  did you know that South Africa also has a Khyber Pass? This week we take you to the green rolling forests of KZN well north of Howick into a land of evergreen forests and tumbling waterfalls where the gravel roads can vary from excellent to downright slippery.

[To access the hyperlink and pass page, expand this page by clicking on the title, the photo or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

What have these people got in common? Willem Muisj, J.C.Tully, George Boyes and F. De Waal?

They were all involved in the developement of the Cape Peninsula's property, rail and road networks in the early 1900's.
Tully was a respected and talented architect; Boyes was the magistrate of Simonstown and Sir Frederick de Waal was Administrator of the Cape. The seaside vilage of Muizenberg was named after Willem Muisj.

We thought we had every single mountain pass covered on the Cape Peninsula, when one of our readers sagely advised us that we had actually missed not one, but three passes! So with our tails between our legs, we toodled off to the deep south last Sunday and filmed the trio of passes over the period of an hour and a half amidst heavy Sunday traffic. We don't often get the opportunity to drive those roads (as we are mainly so busy elsewhere) and it brings home the undoubted privilege of living in the Western Cape. At this time of year the grass is green, the streams and waterfalls are all running and the wildflowers are in bloom everywhere.

Our featured pass today is literaly right under our noses and we explain how the four gentlemen mentioned above fit into the history of this delightful coastal road.......

[To access the link, expand this page by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

Each week we take you to faraway and distant places across our beautiful country and sometimes we uncover little gems right under our noses. This week we introduce you to two passes close to Paarl in the Boland which are inextricably linked by culture and history. One of them is a modern, perfectly designed bit of road engineering with a double chicane bend that ends at the Afrikaans Taal Monument and the other is a much older gravel road, named after an expert wagon builder which provides a lofty view of the Paarl Valley as well as providing access to a wild flower reserve, famous granite rocks, historical relics, hiking trails and mountain bike routes.

[Expand this page to access the links by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

This week we bring you an interesting tale of a wild town that once existed deep in the mountains - of fortunes and misfortunes - of shipwrecks and a city that failed spectacularly right here in South Africa.

Bringing this story to life came from investigating a pass submitted by one of our stalwart supporters from Johannesburg - Mr. Mike Leicester - who told us about a remote gravel track up the mountains in Mpumalanga, in close proximity to the richest gold mine in the world (Sheba) and  only attainable in a high clearance, low-range 4x4.

There at the top of the mountain, lie the ruins of Eureka City. The sinking of the Drummond Castle off Ushant in France inextricably links itself to the lost city of Eureka.

[Expand this page to access the link, by clicking on the photo, the title or the green READ MORE button]

Published in Mountain Passes News

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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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