This week we bring you something completely different as we take you on a 6000 km journey from Cape Town to Caprivi and back in a colourful tapestry of experiences and an ascerbic rookie take on life on the great African plains.

This is a quirky look at a city boy's take on life in the bush and a first time trip into Botswana. There was enough dust on the dashboard to keep a 5 year old busy for hours drawing stick figures (luckily we didn't have a 5 year old or stick figures), but after 3000 fairly boring kilometres from Cape Town via Calvinia, Kenhardt, Keimoes, Upington , Kathu (where a passing bakkie hurled a fair sized stone up which smashed our windscreen), Tshabong, Khakea, Kang, and Ghanzi we finally reached Maun at midday on the third day of travelling through the most featurelessly boring and flat terrained country I have yet seen. There is good reason for this – it’s to prepare you for some wildly exciting, adrenaline charged camping, once you reach Northern Botswana.

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Published in Mountain Passes News

This week, as we enjoy the coldest part of the winter, it's time to get out of the city and savour some fine Karoo air. We introduce you to an obscure, but fabulous gravel road in the Karoo, which plays host of a poort, a pass and a nature reserve. It provides instant relief from the rigours and dangers of the N1 for those who are not in a rush. 

You might have noticed that we try to include a road number for each pass or poort on the website. These numbers will help you to identify that you are on the correct road, when the lady on your GPS is confused and keeps on saying: "Recalculating..."

Published in Mountain Passes News

The website reached a new peak level last week, attaining 12,653 page views in one week. Thank you to every one who enjoys the site and a special word of thanks to some of our stalwart contributors, who work selflessly and tirelessly to ensure we have a world class product.

This week, we give kudos to Mr. Mike Leiscester - a self acknowledged mountain pass affecionado, who has meticulously checked all of our GPS co-ordinates (that's about 1500 of them) as well as distances of the passes and taken the trouble to relay errors found (and there were many!). Mike is currently compiling the ultimate mountain pass spreadsheet exclusively for us. It is this sort of person who makes our day, our week and our year! Mike is one of many people who contribute to the website and of course, we dont want anyone to feel left out, but the amount of effort, time and money he has put in, deserves special mention.

We head off into another distant corner of South Africa this week, and take you on a cyber drive into the dusty corners of the Northern Cape, where late winter and spring-time turn the arid landscape into a wonder-world of wild-flowers.

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

Published in Mountain Passes News

I'm not an economist, but I have a problem trying to rationalise why we are having fuel price increases when oil is at $62  per barrel - the lowest figure in the last decade? Somehow, something doesn't quite pan out for me.....Perhaps it has just a little to do with our camera vehicle returning a consumption figure of 4,5 km per litre!

This week we head far north into Limpopo to explore one of the few passes in that province. It's easy enough to access, as it is located on the N1.

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Published in Mountain Passes News

We have our problems in South Africa, but let's be grateful we are not living in Greece right now with their enormous financial crises and the implications for the general population that will effect them negatively for the next 30 years. Whilst our currency has taken a pounding (intentional pun), we do have the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful countries on planet earth with a vast array of places to visit to suit every person and every budget.

For those living in the pass rich areas of the three Cape Provinces, KZN and Mpumalanga, there are enough day trips to last a lifetime - mountain passes in such a tapestry of history and scenic beauty, that even a day excursion with the family brings with it a new voyage of discovery and pleasure, whether it be in the family car, a motorcycle, a mountain bike or even a walk.

From the snowy reaches of the Carliseshoekspruit Pass in the Eastern Cape last week, we invite you to head north-east with us this week to cyber drive another great gravel pass in the Drakensberg (KZN).

[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

We have officially passed the longest night/shortest day of the winter of 2015 and for those of you that enjoy cold weather, we have a wide range of fabulous passes to take you to those frosty destinations. From the icy sub-zero temperatures of the Ouberg pass near Sutherland, we take you far away into the mountainous interior of the Eastern Cape this week, where you can cyber drive one of the steepest publicly accessible passes that can be done in a normal car and try your hand at snow skiing or high altitude fresh water angling or just enjoy the amazing landscape.

We have recently revamped our video production on this incredible pass and updated some of the information, as well as added some new photos.

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

Published in Mountain Passes News

Our new website layout has shown to be a huge hit with all our readers. Thanks to everyone who emailed us. The last few layout issues are being attended to over the next month. Thank you for your patience.

On our most recent filming expedition, we uncovered a brace of small passes and poorts to the south of the Anysberg Nature Reserve on an interesting gravel road (the P294), definitely less travelled, between Montagu and Laingsburg that includes no less than 7 passes! Game fences decorate both sides of the road for most of its distance, not least of which is the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Game spotting is easy! This road is a guaranteed cure for city blues as it winds up the escarpment from Montagu via the Ouberg Pass, then heads east for 50 km over vast tracts of mountainous Karooscape which offers a varied and fascinating journey, arriving at the first of several passes, before winding up over the Rooinek Pass on the R323 to Laingsburg.

Our featured pass this week is.......

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

Published in Mountain Passes News

For those of you that are regular visitors, you will have noticed the changes we've made to the website. As part of making the website more mobile friendly, we have switched to a responsive mobile friendly template and design. This template is optimized for all the latest verisons of internet browsers. There are some minor changes navigating the site, but all the content and features remain the same. In essence the site will now automatically resize and format regardless of whether you are accessing it from a PC, laptop, iPad or mobile device. Almost 50% of our users access the site from a mobile phone, so it's been crucially important to make these changes.

To have a look at an example of what the new page layout will look like for all passes, click on this link below:


Over the next few weeks we will also be updating each pass page to make the page content (text, images, video and table) display optimally on all screen sizes. In the meantime, bear with us, as most of the passes will show some display/formatting anomalies as to where and how the Fact File displays as well as positioning of some photos and their descriptions.

Our provisional tests show that the site is working well across most operating systems, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and most of the versions of Internet Explorer. The exception is Internet Explorer 7, which we are working on. If you're using anything older than IE7, you might experience problems. We ask for your patience during this important phase of transition and growth of the website. You are also welcome to let us know about any technical issues you are experiencing with the new site. When doing so, provide us with details of your operating system, and screen resolution settings as well as the specific page you might be having issues with. Current known issues include: 1. Videos extending beyond content area on smaller screens; 2. Additional spacing between paragraphs and/or images. There may be some visual issues still present on smaller ipad and smaller views, and we will continue to tweak the content. Users of Internet Explorer Version 7 can fix display issues by clicking on "Compatability Mode" in the address bar on the top left of your screen (the one with the icon of a page torn in half)

This week we feature a lovely trio of passes on the P1721 - a small farm road in the Karoo along the northern fringes of the Swartberg range, which very few people know about.

[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

As usual our production team is in full swing with several great new passes having been published in the past week which were filmed mainly in the area between Prince Albert and Meiringspoort. Winter has arrived in the Cape with a sudden and dramatic drop in temperature, coupled with heavy rain. Our recent filming trip revealed just how low dam levels are in the Karoo and just how welcome these winter rains are.

Today's featured pass is in fact a poort, rather than a pass, with hardly any change in altitude, but that in no way diminishes the grandeur of the scenery. This poort, which few people even notice after having driven either the Swartberg Pass or Meiringspoort, is the final bit of rugged mountain scenery, before one arrives in the hospitable and historic little Karoo dorp of Prince Albert.

We explore some of the history and uncover some weird facts about the village. For example - did you know that this is the only place in South Africa where Spanish jamon is produced?

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

Published in Mountain Passes News

This week we've been filming in the Central Karoo between Prince Albert and Meiringspoort on some minor gravel roads, where we uncovered no less than six fantastic new passes. These will all be produced over the next few weeks. We were thoroughly impressed with the quality of these roads, with most of them either currently being resurfaced or having recently been repaired and it's heartening to see local government investing in good roads for our farmers. It paints a very positive picture compared to all the doom and gloom available on most of the news sources and especially on social media, where the doomsayers are in full song.

Our featured pass this week will appeal to all motorists who enjoy an easier gravel pass and this one holds a special allure to kayakers and white water rafters. It's located close to Vryheid in the northern sector of KZN and provides a long, easy drive along the Bivane River - well known for it's quantity of good rapids and small waterfalls.

[To access the links, expand this page 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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